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From the First to the Twentieth Century 

A Fourth Century Jewish Christian: Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia 

Hugh Schonfield 


From the First to the Twentieth Century 


Hugh Schonfield 

Author of 

An Old Hebrew Text of Matthew 's Gospel 

The Last Book of the Nativity of John 

The Speech that Moved the World 

Duckworth, London 

Contents pages 

original cd 

Introduction 5 6 

Chapter 1 10 9 

The disciples of the Galilean Wonder-Worker, first attempts at organization; death of Stephan the 
protomartyr and persecution by Saul of Tarsus; preaching of the Gospel in the Provinces; execution of 
James the son of Zebedee; formation of a Jewish Christian Sanhedrin under the presidency of James the 
Just; first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas; response of the Gentiles; dispute on the status of 
Gentile converts; verdict of the Council of Jerusalem. 

Chapter 11 18 15 

The famine in Judaea in the reign of Claudius; league of Nazarenes and Zealots to withstand official 
oppression; evidence from the Epistle of James, die Apocalypse, of Baruch,, Josephus and the Talmud; 
martyrdom of James the Just. 

Chapter 111 26 21 

Paul's further missionary journeys; antinomianism among the Gentile believers; Paul's last visit to 
Jerusalem; his arrest and interrogation; martyrdom of Peter and Paul at Rome. 

Chapter IV 31 24 

Increase of anarchy in Judaea; escape of the Nazarenes and moderate Pharisees from Jerusalem; war 
with Rome and its aftermath; brief exposition of the Book of Revelation; the belief in the near return of 

Chapter V 36 28 

Exile of the Nazarenes at Pella; their Christology contrasted with that of the Gentile Christians; 
separation of the Jewish and Gentile churches; the rule of the Desposynoi; persecution of the. family of 
Jesus on account of their Davidic descent; interrogation of the grandsons of Jude by Domitian; 
martyrdom of Simon son of Cleophas under Trajan; last Jewish bishops of Jerusalem; second revolt of 
the Jews in the reign of Hadrian; Bar-Kochba persecutes the Nazarenes; end of the war and scattering of 
the Jewish believers; foundation ^Elis Capatolina; Marcus first Gentile bishop of ^lis; attempted 
expulsion of the Nazarenes from the Synagogue. 

Chapter VI 43 33 

Preaching of the Apostles; organization of native churches; the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles; 

missionary activities among the Jews; methods of approach; pseudonymous propaganda and 

interpolations; the Gospel of the Hebrews; ministry of healing. 


i. Remains of Jewish Christianity in the Talmud 

ii. Longer Fragments of the Gospel of the Hebrews 

Chapter Vll 58 44 

Crystallization of Jewish and Christian traditions and doctrines; unfriendly controversy; examples of 
Nazarene and Rabbinist polemics; Toledot Yeshu; separation of the Jewish Christians into two groups; 
influence of the Nazarenes on the Syrian Church; the Clementine Romances and the Odes of Solomon; 
Symmachus and his Greek Old Testament; some account of Hegesippus. 

Chapter Vlll 66 50 

Conversation of the Roman Empire to Christianity; disputation between R. Sambres and Pope Sylvester 
before Constantine; history of Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia; history of Count Joseph; anti- Jewish 

edicts of the Councils; finding of relics of Christ and the Apostles; conversion of the Jew, of Minorca 
according to Bishop Severus; the pseudo-Messiah Moses of Crete and the conversion of some of his 
followers; change in the Christian attitude towards the Jews. 
Addendum: Some professions of Faith required of Jewish Converts. 

Chapter IX 77 58 

Causes of the disruption of Jewish Christianity; genesis and development of Gnosticism; the 
Antitheses; the Sophia mythos; celibacy and vegetarianism; final heterodoxy of the Ebionites; rise of 
Islam; last glimpses of independent Jewish Christianity in the East. 

Chapter X 83 62 

The second phase of Jewish Christianity; forced baptism and its results; Jews under the Visigothic 
kings; decree of King Sisebut; wholesale conversions; decrees of the Fourth Council of Toledo. 

Chapter XI 90 67 

Decree of the Sixth Council of Toledo; Christianized Jews' address to King Reccesuinth; Julian, 
Archbishop of Toledo; approach to the Jews in the Eastern Church; disputation between Herbanus the 
Jew and Gregentius, Archbishop of Tephren; Jacob the newly baptized; Jews under the Carlovignian 
kings; a Jewish Christian and William II of England; Moses Sephardi (Petrus Alfonso). 

Chapter XII 98 73 

The Crusades and Jewish Persecution; St. Bernard of Clairvaux; disputation between Nicolas Damn and 
R. Jehiel of Paris; charges of blasphemy against the Talmud; copies publicly burnt; disputation between 
Pablo Christiani and R. Nahmanides; an argument on the Trinity; creation of a board of censorship for 
the Talmud; Abner of Burgos; disputation between John of Valladolid and Moses haCohen of 
Tordesillas; disputation between Joseph ibn Vives Al Lorqui (Geronimo de Santa Fe) and twenty-two 
Jewish rabbis at Tortosa; the activities of the Dominicans; a decree of James II of Aragon; outcome of 
the disputations. 

Chapter XIII 107 79 

Intermarriage of Jewish Christian with Christian notables; history of the Pierleoni family: a Jewish 
Christian Pope; Anacletus II; history of the Carthagena family; Solomon Halevi (Paul de Santa Maria), 
Bishop of Burgos; his testament to his son; Jewish Christians in the Eastern Church, Gregory AbuT 
Faraj. sumamed Bar Hebseus, Primate of the Jacobites. 

Chapter XIV 115 85 

The Domus Conversorum at Oxford and London; Henry Ill's charter; important inmates; Nicolas de 
Lyra; his Postills and the Reformation; history of the protesting movement in the East; Paul of 
Samosata and the Paulicians; the Bogonmils, Cathars and Albigenses; Zachartah of Kiev; Theodora, 
Tsarina of Bulgaria; initiation ceremony of the Cathars; suppression of the Albigenses by the 

Chapter XV 121 90 

Apotheosis of clericalism; Marranos of Spain and Portugal and the Chuetas of Malloruca; objects of the 
Inquisition; treatment of heretics; tests for crypto Jews; refugees in the Netherlands; expulsion of the 
Jews from Spain and Portugal; Christopher Columbus and the new world; sermon of the Archbishop of 
Cranganor at Lisbon to a convicted company of New Christians; Mercy and Justice. 

Chapter XVI 128 96 

Jewish Christianity under Protestantism; Luther and the Jews; the Renaissance; Pfefferkorn and 
Reuchlin; representative Jewish Christians of the 1 6th and 1 7th century; Mark Raphail advises Henry 

VIII of England on his marriage with Queen Catherine; Dr. Lopez accused of conspiring to poison 
Queen Eliazbeth; Jewish Christian mendicants and the Liber Vagatorum. 

Chapter XVII 137 103 

Influence of Jewish ideas on Christian life and thought; Messianic expectations in the 1 7th century, 
apocalyptic year 1666; Edzard and Callenberg initiate missionary work among theJews, Institutum 
Judsicum; Shabbathai Zevi; Frankists; mystical Jewish Christianity, Christian students of Jewish 
Literature; John Toland vindicates Jewish Christianity in his Nazarenus. 

Chapter XVIII 146 109 

Modem Protestant missions to the Jews; representative Jewish Christians of the 19th century; great 
increase in Jewish voluntary baptisms; Jewish Christian missionary enterprise. 

Chapter XIX 150 1 12 

Foundations of Modern Jewish Christianity; Michael Alexander, first Jewish Christian Bishop of 
Jerusalem since a.d. 135; Palestine Place and the Beni Abraham association; Hebrew Christian Prayer 
Union; formation of the Hebrew Christian Alliance; Joseph Rabinowitz, the Herzl of Jewish 
Christianity; the Israelites of the New Covenant at Kischineff 

Chapter XX 158 118 

Christianity within the Jewish community; P. Lichtenstein and anti-Semitism; Jewish Christians and 
Christian denominationalism; The "Ebionite" controversy; growth of a distinct Jewish Christian 

Chapter XXI 166 124 

The Great War and the Jewish situation; Jewish Christward movements; the first international Jewish 

Christian conference; foundation of the International Hebrew Christian Alliance with Sir Leon Levison 

as President; constitution of the Alliance; National Alliances formed in many countries; the principle of 

a Hebrew Christian Church approved; descendants of the Portuguese Marranos join the Alliance; the 

Nazi regime In Germany; sufferings of Jewish Christians and non-Aryans; questions for the future. 


Extracts from the Presidents Address, First I.II.C.A. Conference, 1925 


Among histories of Christianity there has long existed a gap, which either has passed 
unnoticed or has been deemed of Httle consequence by Christian scholars. It is only where this 
gap is at its narrowest, in the early days of the Church, that any consideration has been paid to it, 
and then the treatment of the subject involved, the life and faith of primitive Jewish Christianity, 
has been of the most partial character. A common judgment has been expressed by the late Dr. 
Hort in his lectures on Judaistic Christianuy. He describes the Jewish Church as; 

"a natural product of the circumstances of the Apostolic Age, living on for some generations, 
and that probably not without times of revival, but becoming more and more evidently a 
futile anachronism as the main body of the Church grew up into a stately tree in the eyes of 
all men; and at length dying naturally away." 

This point of view can no longer be held by the serious investigator. Gentile Christianity has 
been intelligibly enough preoccupied with its own rise to power and influence, and in the first 
flush of that power it sought by anathema, suppression and wholesale destruction of documents 
to overthrow the witness of Jewish Christianity. If there was a death at all, which there is good 
cause to doubt, it was not natural one; it was matricide. Far from becoming a futile anachronism 
its spirit and human activity has persisted until the present day, and is even now undergoing a 
revival on a scale unknown since apostolic times. 

Jewish Christianity has always existed to supply that of which the Church has stood in need — 
the Messianic vision. Gentile Christians in conversation with Jews have often spoken of Jesus as 
"our Savior, and your Messiah." Yet Jesus is as much the Messiah of the Gentiles as he is of the 
Jews; only the Catholic Church has largely lost the sense of the meaning o that exalted office. If 
it were not so, if the true preaching of the Kingdom of God had been carried out according to the 
Gospel injunction, the horrors of warfare would have long since ceased between so-called 
Christian countries. The only diplomatic corps that Europe would require would be 
"ambassadors for Christ." 

A few Christian scholars who have been at pains to study the subject have deplored the lack of 
any text book to which the student could turn. Canon A. Lukyn Williams has written: "It is much 
to be wished that 

some really trustworthy history of Christianity in relation to Jews were in existence." And more 
recently Dr. Parkes in reviewing the available literature states: "Finally there is the question of 
the Judeo-Christians. A number of books are quoted dealing with the rise of the Gentile Church, 
but I doubt whether full justice has yet been done to this section of the early Church. At least, I 
have not been able to find an adequate study of the subject." 

Clearly, then, the gap is there to be filled; but the present work, constructive as it is, makes no 
pretensions to be exhaustive: it rather outlines the cavity and indicates the materials which are 
available to render it solid and permanent. It can claim, however, to be the very first attempt to 
provide a connected account of Jewish Christianity from the first to the twentieth century. There 
have been studies of limited periods, particularly of the first two centuries, and information of 
one kind and another is to be found scattered up and down the pages of a veritable library of 
ancient and modern authors, and where these are not mentioned in the text, I can only express a 
general indebtedness to the authorities consulted. I have taken care to give full and exact 
references, as these constitute the evidence for the statements made; and it on this account the 
book seems too much like a string of quotations the intention has been to anticipate criticism on 

many controversial points and to provide the general reader with the actual words of documents 
with which he cannot be expected to be familiar, It is all the more necessary to chart the 
landmarks and principal features when entering unexplored territory for which no map is in 
existence. At least I have precedent of Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, whose Ecclesiastical 
History is so indispensable, and whose introductory words so well reproduce my own situation. 

Acknowledging that it is beyond my power to present the work perfect and 
unexceptionable, I freely confess it will crave indulgence, especially since, as the 
first of those that have entered upon the subject, we are attempting a kind of 
trackless and unbeaten path. Looking up with prayer to God as our guide, we trust, 
indeed, that we shall have the power of Christ as our aid, though we are totally 
unable to find even the bare vestiges of those who may have traveled the way 
before us; unless, perhaps, what is only present in the slight intimations, which 
some in different ways have transmitted to us in certain partial narratives of the 
times in which they lived; who, raising their voices before 

us, like torchbearers at a distance and, as looking down from some commanding 
height, call out and exhort us where we should walk, and whither direct our course 
with certainty and safety. Whatsoever, therefore, we deem likely to be 
advantageous to the proposed subject, we shall endeavor to reduce to a compact 
body by historical narration. For this purpose we have collected the materials that 
have been scattered by our predecessors, and culled, as from some intellectual 
meadows, the appropriate extracts from ancient authors. 

I have striven to be as impartial and just as a subject in which partiality and injustice have 
previously played so large a part will allow. I believe that I have fairly represented the attitude of 
the Gentile Church and of the Jewish people. I have not sought to gloss over the failings of the 
Jewish Christians, while freeing them from a great deal of misrepresentation. The measure of my 
faithfulness to what! deem to be the facts will be for the reader himself to judge. Criticism is 
likely to come because of my treatment of the early days of Christianity, but I trust that readers 
will be broadminded enough to concede my right of interpretation of the fragmentary data in the 
way that! have done. The evidences have been accumulating, and partly due to the painstaking if 
unpalatable researches of Dr. Robert Eisler, which tend to show that Jewish Christianity was a 
much more fundamental thing, politically, socially and spiritually than ecclesiastical historians 
have been disposed to admit. One day the whole story of Christian beginnings will have to be 
rewritten, and any day may bring to light again part of the vanished record. Even that very 
Gospel which the Nazarenes cherished may ere long be restored. 

Having said so much by way of explanation of the nature and need for such a history, it is 
necessary to add that there are contributory factors which make the publication of this work both 
timely and essential. We can mark in our own day the beginnings of the return of the great 
Gentile Churches to the simpler faith and Christology of the early Jewish Christians. During the 
past century and a half there has been manifested a progressive re-orientation, a Zionism of faith. 
Not only those who are Israelites by race have turned their hearts towards Jerusalem. The 
attempts of the several denominations to model their government and order on what they believe 
to be the lines laid down in the primitive Church, the renewal of foreign missionary activity, 
phenomenal manifestations life the revival of prophecy and speaking with tongues, second 


adventism, the intensified quest for the historical Jesus, the acceptance of their Messiah by 
thousands of Jews, all these and many more are signs to the discerning that the wheel has turned 
full circle, and that the message of salvation that went forth from Zion is returning to Zion again, 
parallel with the dispersion and restoration of the Jewish people. If it is permissible to coin a new 
word, this trend may best be described as the Rejudaissance of Christianity. 

From the libraries of the Near East and the sands of Egypt many precious records of the early 
church are being brought to light which can assist us in reconstructing its history and beliefs, 
while the recovery of the ancient Gospel manuscripts enable the modern disciple to catch in ever 
clearer accents the utterances of his Master. 

It is being increasingly recognized how impossible is the attitude which would divorce 
Christianity from its Jewish origin and associations. As Henry Ward Beecher wrote fifty years 

the ignorance and superstition of medieval Europe may account for the prejudices 
of the Dark Age. But how a Christian nowadays can turn from a Jew, I cannot 
imagine. Christianity itself sucked at the bossom of Judaism. Our roots are in the 
Old Testament. We are Jews ourselves gone to blossom and fruit; Christianity is 
Judaism in evolution, and it would seem strange for the seed to turn against the 
stock on which it was grown. 

The state of affairs in Germany under the Hitler regime shows clearly that anti-Judaism is 
equally anti-Christianity. The only alternative to both is a revived Paganism, and this, while it is 
more blatantly flaunted by a section of the Nazis, is subtly reflected elsewhere in the Churches 
by a modern Neo-Platonism. History does have a way of repeating itself, and it is to be 
anticipated that before there can be a return to the original faith of the Prophet of Nazareth, there 
will be a recrudescence of many ancient heresies. Theosophy and Spiritualism have already 
restored Gnosticism to its place in the borderline of Christianity. The Church will do well to heed 
the admonition of Isaiah to "Look unto Abraham you father, and unto Sarah that bare you." 

As the times of the Gentiles run out it is probable that Jewish Christianity will steadily regain 
its original position of authority and will enunciate simple and universal principles of Christian 
belief in which the Unity of God and the Messiahship of Jesus will be the fundamentals, 
acceptable alike to Jew and Gentile. Jewish Christians will become the intermedi- 

aries between East and West, the healers of old wounds, the heralds of the Kingdom of God. For 
these greater reasons which transcend the claims of scholarship the story of Jewish Christianity is 
deserving of the utmost consideration, and those of us who can look at history with the eye of 
faith may ask with Zangwill in his Blind Children: 

Do we sport carelessly. 
Blindly upon the verge 
Of an Apocalypse? 

Hugh J Schonfield 


Chapter I 


When the early ministry of Jesus was finished there remained as the fruits of his teaching a 
number of Jews who were convinced that he was their expected Messiah. 

Between these Jewish believers distributed among the towns and villages of Palestine, little or 
no connection at first existed. Their life remained unaltered; they worshipped in the synagogues 
with their fellow Jews, and were distinguished only by their adherence to the Galilean Wonder- 
Worker, whose claims they no doubt pressed as occasion offered. The driving force of the future 
Nazarene sect was concentrated in a small body of the Messiah's most intimate friends and some 
members of his family, who, according to the account in Acts, took up residence in Jerusalem in 
anticipation of his speedy and glorious return. This was the fundamental and the inspiration of 
their teaching — the resurrection and ascension of the Messiah and his coming again in due 
season to reestablish the kingdom of God and of Israel. 

It was this belief, and the power of it, that invested the original community of humble persons, 
fishermen and artisans, with a dignity and confidence of utterance that was electrifying and 
contagious, and that ran like wildfire through the oppressed classes of the population and particu- 
larly attracted the patriots and religious zealots, already stirred and exalted by Messianic visions. 
This was the pregnant message, the "good news" for which they had been waiting, the great fact 
born of actual knowledge and experience which anchored indefinite hope to the strong rack of 

Under the leadership of Simon bar Yona [called Peter] the Galilean fanatics, as they were then 
known, carried on an energetic propaganda in the name of Jesus, proclaiming his Messiahship in 
the Temple courts, synagogues, markets, and everyplace of public assembly. As devout Jews, 
they were regular attendants at the diets of worship, while they sustained their cause by informal 
prayer and discussion at the houses of some of their number. To the Jewish authorities they 
represented one of the many "Ways" with which Jerusalem was vexed. The capital, at this time, 
was a hotbed of peculiar people offering infallible remedies for the nation's undoubted ills. They 
had to be tolerated for the sake of peace, and were only interfered with when that peace was 
endangered by their 


loud-voiced activities. 

The first glimpse of the Nazarenes is then as rugged men with enthusiasm burning in their 
faces, with a thousand tongues to tell their Master's praise, proclaiming his coming to seething 
masses of their compatriots aggravated by the domination of Rome and the tyranny of the 
Saduccean hierarchy. Figures become fanciful at such times, but there must be something in that 
first tale in the Acts of "three thousand souls added".... "five thousand men who had believed." 

Eisler has overstressed the political aspect, but there is undoubted Iruth in what he says, that: 

the announcement of the resurrection was originally disseminated among the 
people by the Jewish Christians in connection with a purely political message and 
with a distinctly political aim. The resurrection of Jesus was originally preached, 
not to a circle of mystics, like the resurrection of the dying mystery gods or that of 

the grass and com spirit rising again from the earth, as an illustration and guarantee 
of the individual's immortality: 

"Be of good cheer, O initiated ones: the god is saved, you too will find salvation 
in your pains." No. The Jewish partisans of Jesus preached to the people that 
certainty of the impending "liberation from bondage"; nor did they mean, like Paul, 
liberation from the bondage of sin and wicked spirits, but quite literally liberation 
from the yoke of their well known worldly oppressors. Jesus was to return and 
liberate Israel from bondage in no other sense that King Arthur was believed by the 
Welsh of the Middle Ages to return to free his people from the Saxon and Norman 

The mind of today can with difficulty conceive the sainted apostles of the Christian faith in the 
setting of incipient revolution, conducting a propaganda which was half a revivalist campaign 
and half a class war. To enter into the spirit of those days, to sympathize with the exuberant 
communism, the jubilant fanaticism, that turned the narrow streets of Jerusalem and the very 
steps of the Sanctuary into a battle-ground of explosive elements subversive of ordered 
government, a great many traditional conceptions have to be sacrificed. The canonical 
documents smooth away most of the rough edges, but the grim truth will not be gainsaid, and 
through diverse channels wc obtain a picture more in keeping with the conditions as from tlic 
pages of Josephus and the Talmud we 


know them to have been. 

In a fragment of the Gospel of Peter the disciples after the crucifixion are found in hiding for 
fear of the authorities, "for we were sought for by them as malefactors, and as desiring to burn 
the temple." 

An uncensored edition of the Josippon states that, "In those days (i.e., of the Emperor Caius), 
there were wars and quarrels in Judaea between the Pharisees and the brigands of our people who 
followed the son of Joseph." 

A very early tradition quoted by Clement of Alexandria from the Preaching of Peter, and 
supported by Appolonius, has it that Jesus said to the apostles: 

If anyone of Israel wishes to repent, and by my name to believe in God, his sins 
shall be forgiven him. After twelve years go forth into the world, that no one may 
say, "We have not heard. "^ 

There is at least this much of truth in the saying that it would appear that the followers of Jesus 
in Jerusalem did not for a considerable time make any organized attempt to communicate with 
believers in the provinces. The success of their preaching in the capital must, however, have 
quickly necessitated some local organization. An indication of this may be found in Acts 6:1. 

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a 
murmuring of the Hellenists (foreign-born Jews) against the Hebrews (home-born), 
because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 


This led, we are told, to the appointment of seven parnasim, deacons, to deal with the 
distribution of alms. There is no direct evidence to show whether the adoption of this synagogal 
custom implies the establishment of a Nazarene synagogue; but there is a certain amount of 
indirect evidence to suggest it. Any group of Jews which comprised ten batlanim, men of leisure, 
could found a synagogue, and there were numerous synagogues in Jerusalem representing 
nationalities, trades, and no doubt "Ways" as well. Oesterley has proved that many elements in 
the early Christian liturgy derive from the liturgy of the synagogue,^ and it is not, therefore, 
unreasonable to suppose that those of the "Way of Jesus" did, in fact, establish a synagogue of 
their own. Such a meeting house may have been situated, especially in view of the Hellenists, 
close by that of the Freedmen, Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, 


whose members the deacon, Stephen, came into wordy conflict, with the result that he was 
accused of blasphemy and hailed before the Jewish Ecclesiastical Council. Saul of Tarsus, a 
Cilician, was quite possibly a prominent member of the very synagogue which laid information 
against him. It is expressly stated, that when Stephen was found guilty, Saul "was consenting 
unto his death," and some acquaintance with the witnesses who stoned Stephen is clearly 

The authorities had already had to take notice of the Nazarenes through the outspokenness of 
Peter and John, and they were probably very glad of the opportunity to curb the growing 
influence of these disturbing element in the city. Their harshness in dealing with Stephen seems 
due to their determination to make an example of him. The outbreak against the Nazarenes which 
followed Stephen's execution does not appear to have been authorized by the Council: Saul, 
himself, seems to have been the instigator of the attack. It was he, who "breathing out 
threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired 
of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of 'the Way,' whether they 
were men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.'"* The Nazarene Acts, reflected in 
the Clementine Recognitions, shows him breaking up a disputation between the apostles and the 
chief priests 

like a madman, inciting everyone to murder, shouting, "What do ye? Why do ye 
hesitate? Ye sluggish and inert! Why do we not lay hands upon them, and pull all 
these fellows to pieces." When he had said this, he first, seizing a brand, set the 
example of smiting.^ 

The same account goes on to relate that Saul even attacked James, the brother of Jesus, hurling 
him down the temple steps, and leaving him for dead; and that he set out for Damascus because 
he believed that Peter had fled there. In fact, however, the Nazarine leader had taken refuge in 

However caused, the riot temporarily scattered the Jerusalem community, with profound 
results on the development of Jewish Christianity; the disciples that were scattered abroad "went 
everywhere preaching the word." Not only were new adherents gained from among the 
Samaritans and provincial Jews, but contact must also have been made with many who had come 
under the personal influence of Jesus during his ministry. The response gave the apostles a new 
vision. They sent Peter and John to 



Samaria. The result was that ma very short time branches of the parent community had sprung up 
"throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria," and we find Peter paying them an official visit, 
no doubt to organize the communities as well as to encourage them in their faith. Other disciples 
had gone as far as Phenice, Cyprus and Antioch, preaching to the Jews of the Dispersion. To 
meet this further development Saul, now an ardent adherent of the faith he had lately persecuted, 
was called from Tarsus by Barnabus and installed at Antioch, where the Nazarenes first began to 
be called Christianoi (Christians), the Greek rendering of Messianists. 

So impressive had the Nazarene party now become that the civil authorities joined hand with 
the religious in a belated effort to suppress the movement. James, the son of Zebedee, one of the 
most active members of the Jerusalem community, was seized by order of King Herod Agrippa, 
and beheaded, while Peter was imprisoned, but providentially escaped. A touching incident 
connected with the death of James is recorded by Clement of Rome. He relates, "that the man 
who led him to the judgment seat, seeing him bearing his testimony to the faith, and moved by 
the fact, confessed himself a Christian. Both, therefore, were led away to die, on their way, he 
entreated James to be forgiven of him, and James, considering a little, replied, 'Peace be with 
thee,' and kissed him; and then both were beheaded at the same time."^ 

It now became evident to the apostles and elders that a more elaborate organization was 
necessary if the scattered communities of believers were to be kept together. The movement was 
in every way a Jewish one, and its leaders were closely identified with Jewish affairs. There was 
no split with the Synagogue, and it was only natural that the government of the communities 
should be conducted on current lines. This required the establishment of local synagogues with 
their officials, president, deacons, precentor and teachers, three of whom would form a tribunal 
for the judgment of cases concerning money matters, thefts, losses, immorality, admission of 
proselytes, etc. This local council in turn would be responsible to the higher court in Jerusalem, 
to which graver charges and cases would be referred. The organization also provided for itinerant 
teachers sent out from the central authority, whose duty it was to exhort and expound the true 
doctrine, and also to collect dues for the maintenance of the organization. We gather that this 
system was adopted by the Nazarenes, the leadership of the visiting teachers being given to 
Peter, while 


James the brother of Jesus was elected Nasi, or president of the supreme Council, both on 
account of his kinship to the Messiah and his noted piety. As Schweitzer rightly point out: 

For the Christians of the churches in Asia minor and Greece, the Church at 
Jerusalem was an authority, in the same sense and to the same extent as the 
Sanhedrin was for the Synagogues of the Deaspora. The collection which they 
made for it was not so much a gift sent to the poor as a levy comparable with the 
Temple tax of the Jewish proselj^es, which they paid to it.^ 

Some traces of what must have been prior to the disastrous war of A.D. 67-70 a very powerful 
and systematic organization still meets us a little later in the Dedache, a manual for the conduct 
of a Christian community, and the charge of Peter in the Clementine Recognitions to 

observe the greatest caution, that you believe no teacher unless he bring from 
Jerusalem the testimonial of James the Lord's brother, or of whosoever may come 


after him. For no one, unless he has gone up thither and there has been approved as 
a fit and faithful teacher for preaching the word of the Messiah, unless, I say, he 
brings a testimonial thence, is by any means to be received.** 

James is styled "the bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the holy Church of the Hebrew, 
and the churches everywhere excellently founded by the providence of God."' 

An event now occurred which was to have far-reaching consequences for the future. The 
Antioch community decided to send out a trial mission to Asia Minor with the object of reaching 
the Jews of those regions and, if possible, the Gentiles also. The Antioch ecclesia itself seems 
from the first to have included a number of proselytes from heathenism, and the intention to 
evangelize those of their own blood is as intelligible as it is creditable. Saul, shortly afterwards 
known as Paul, and Barnabas were set apart for this enterprise, which had a precedent in the 
practice of the Pharisees. They started out by way of Seleucia, and then set sail for Cyprus. 
Travelling across the island they again set sail from Paphos, and proceeded via Perga in 
Pamphylia, Pisidian Antioch and Iconium, to Lystra and Derbe, meeting with many adventures, 
and receiving an unlooked-for response to their preaching on the part of the Gentiles. These 
Gentiles were among those already attracted to Ju- 


daism. Around every Jewish proseuche, or worshipping center, in the Roman provinces, were to 
be found many Gentiles attendant on a teaching which impressed them by its simplicity of 
theology and emphasis on personal holiness. To diem, the Messianic message, which promised 
personal salvation and Immediate reception into the fellowship of faith without circumcision and 
other restrictive rites, was doubly welcome. Paul and Barnabas were therefore able to return to 
Antioch well satisfied with their success. "And when they were come, and had gathered the 
community together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the 
door of faith unto the Gentiles."'" 

The conversion of the Gentiles, however, presented an acute problem. What was to be the 
status of these converts? Were they to be regarded as "proselytes of righteousness" (full 
proselytes), subject in all respects to the laws of Israel, or as "proselytes of the gate" (half 
proselytes), subject only to the primary Noahic laws? Opinion was divided, and feeling ran high. 
Being of such a grave character the question was referred to Jerusalem. Thither Paul and 
Barnabas, with some other, repaired. The supreme Council was immediately convened, presided 
over by James, and the whole matter was thrashed out. After hearing the arguments on both 
sides, the President gave judgment to the effect that (the evidence in accordance with the 
Scriptures warranted the conclusion that God was calling out from among the Gentiles a people 
for His Name, who, without becoming Jews, were to share with them all the privileges of the 
covenants of promise." By this decision believing Gentiles were admitted to an associate- 
membership of the House of Israel, subject only to the Noahic laws, which satisfied all parties. 

It was necessary, said the Nazarenes, that the Gentiles should be called into the room of those 
who remained unbelieving, so that the number might be filled up which has been shown to 

It was agreed that the two organizations should be kept distinct, though closely allied to one 
another. James, Peter and John gave to Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship; that the 


latter should labor among the Gentiles, while the former went to the Jews.'^ The findings of the 
Council were embodied in the historic letter which became the charter of Gentile Christianity. 

The apostles and elders and brethren send greetings unto the brethren which are of 
the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 


Forasmuch as we have heard that certain which went out from us have troubled 
you with words, subverting your souls, saying. Be circumcised and keep the Law: 
to whom we gave no commandment; it seemed good unto us, being assembled with 
one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men 
who have hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus the Messiah. 

We have sent, therefore, Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same thing by 

For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden 
than these essential things; that ye abstain from meat offered to idols, and from 
blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep 
yourselves, ye shall do well. 

Fare ye well.'"* 

Thus happily ended this crisis in Jewish Christian history. The decree was delivered to the 
community at Antioch, "and when they had read ii, they rejoiced for the consolation." Shortly 
afterwards, Paul and Silas set out on a second missionary journey, confirming the Gentile 
believers in their faith and giving them copies of the decree to keep. 



Chapter II 


Affairs In Judaea now began to assume an ominous appearance. Political and economic 
conditions had been growing steadily worse. Soon the mutterings of the coming storm were 
heard; mutterings of an enslaved people straining at its bonds. 

The dread herald of the cataclysm was the gaunt spectre of want. The peasantry, already 
groaning under the combined tyranny of the civil and religious authorities, were driven to the 
verge of madness by a great famine which swept the country in the reign of Claudius Caesar. It is 
on record that the community at Antioch contributed according to their means to the relief of 
their brethren in Jerusalem,'^ and Josephus tells of the generous help given to the starving 
citizens by Helena. Queen of the Adiabene, a convert to Judaism.'^ 

In this desperate situation the tax-yielded wealth of the Sadducean chief priests and Herodians, 
like that of the high Church dignitaries and nobility before the French revolution, became an ever 
increasing source of bitterness to the suffering populace, calling forth the denunciations of all 
right, thinking men. Patriots, Zealots and Nazarenes, made common cause against the 
oppressors. There is some evidence to show that James the brother of Jesus was made unofficial 
leader of a united people's party. The title given him. Oblias, which Eusebius renders, 
"Protection of the People" (perioche to lao), the tenor of his Epistle, the fact that his influence 
was so feared by the high priestly party that they illegally put him to death, and that this caused 
such a popular outcry that the responsible high priest was deposed and the revolt accelerated, all 
point to this conclusion. Eisler goes so far as to suggest that the tradition that James wore the 
diadem (petalon) of the High Priest and had the right of entry into the sanctuary may be 
construed to mean that the brother of Jesus was in fact elected by the people to this holy office in 
opposition to the official high priest Ananias.'^ The evidence offered on this point though 
interesting is far from conclusive. It does, however, say much for the growth and power of 
Jewish Christianity, and far more than ecclesiastical and lay historians have ever allowed, that a 
brother of Jesus and head of the Jewish Christian communities, should be chosen as the 
mouthpiece and hope of loyal Israel — a prophet of the revolt. The records of this period of 
Jewish history are scattered and 


fragmentary. Not from the biased statements of Josephus alone, but from the New Testament, the 
Talmud, and the contemporary Jewish apocalyptic writings, must the picture or the great struggle 
for freedom and righteousness be drawn — a struggle in which Jewish Christianity played a not 
ignoble, though hitherto unrecognized, part. 

As for the high priest Ananias (the younger), writes Josephus, he increased in credit 
every day... for he was a great money maker... He also had servants who were very 
wicked, who joined themselves to the popular bullies, and went to the threshing- 
floors, and took away, by force, the tithes that belonged to the priests, and did not 
refrain from beating such as would not give these tithes to them. And the chief 
priests acted in the same manner as the servants of Ananias, without anyone being 
able to prevent them. With the result that priests who were of old accustomed to be 
supported with those tithes, died of starvation.'* 


The Talmud has even preserved the people's cries, with which they besieged the high priest's 

Down with the Boethusians! 

Down with their bludgeons! 
Down with the Hananites! 

Down with their viper hissings! 
Down with the Cantherites! 

Down with the libels! 
Down with the family of Ishmael ben Phabi! 

Down with their blows with the fist! 
They themselves are high priests, 
Their Sons are treasurers. 
Their sons-in-law are captains of the temple. 
And their servants strike the people with staves.'' 

As the misery of the people increased, so much the brighter burnt the flame of Messianic hope. 
On every hand portents were seen, rumors were heard, false prophets and false Messiahs began 
to make their appearance, deluding the sufferers with extravagant promises. Calculations of the 
length of the tribulation were eagerly read; prophecies of stupendous miracles about to take place 
implicitly believed. Some there were who betook themselves to prayer and fasting hat God might 
remember His people, others who looked to the strength of heir own right hand for deliverance. 
Of the former were the noble R. 


Zadok and James the Just, of the latter were Eleazar bar Dinai and the descendants of Judas of 

We may imagine the Nazarenes of Jerusalem deeply moved and their own faith greatly 
strengthened by all that was taking place, going about with redoubled zeal, warning and 
exhorting. Others might speculate they knew. Jesus was about to descend from heaven at the 
head of the angelic hosts to take vengeance on the enemies and set up his glorious kingdom. 
Thousands of recruits rallied to the standard of the Messiah including a great company of the 
unfortunate priests. Through the han of tradition and cryptic imagery the opposing forces are 
dimly seen — Michael and his angels battling with the Dragon and his angels; a Nazarene-Zealot 
alliance, the followers of Moses and the Lamb, a remnant of Israel 'which keep the 
commandments of God and have the testimony of the Messiah Jesus" withstanding the Beast, the 
power of Rome, and the False Prophet, the apostate Jewish high priesthood 

Despite imprisonment, banishment and execution of leaders the "party of liberty" continued to 
gain ground, and the later Procurators Antonius Felix and Porcius Festus found the situation 
more and more difficult to control. Whole the more peaceable of the Nazarenes and Zealots were 
content to fulminate against the oppressors, certain violent elements could not be restrained from 
taking the law into their own hands. Felix succeeded in capturing Eleazar bar Dinai by a trick 
and sending him to Caesar, but other took his place, and soon Jerusalem awoke to a new terror, 
the Sicarii, a desperate league of daggermen, who did not stop at murdering the pro-Roman chief 
priests and wealthy citizens even within the sacred precincts of the temple. It is probable that it 


was at this time that the Nazarenes assumed the designation of Ebionites, signifying the contrast 
between themselves and the avaricious apostates and claiming that they were the true heirs of the 
Messianic kingdom. The writings of the author of the Apocalypse of Baruch and James' epistle, 
which certainly reflect this period, can have done little to calm the passions that were aroused, in 
spite of the latter' s plea for patience. And there are curious points of resemblance which further 
argue some association between the Zealots and the Nazarenes. It must have been exceedingly 
difficult of the followers of Jesus not to be caught up in the general excitement and carried away 
by the more militant revolutionaries. Take for instance the follow- 

mg passages: 

For that time will arise which brings affliction; for it will come and pass by with 
quick vehemence, and it will be turbulent coming in the heat of indignation. And it 
will come to pass in those days that all the inhabitants of the earth will be moved 
one against another, because they know not that my judgment has drawn nigh. For 
there will not be found many wise at that time, and the intelligent will be but few: 
moreover, even those who know will most of all be silent. And there will be many 
rumors and tidings not a few, and the words of portents will be shown, and 
promises not a few will be recounted, and some of them will prove idle, and some 
of them will be confirmed .... And whilst they are meditating these things, then zeal 
will arise in those of whom they thought not, and passion will seize him who is 
peaceful, and many will be roused in anger to injure many, and they will rouse up 
armies in order to shed blood, and in the end they will perish together with them. 
And it will come to pass at the self-same time, that a change of times will 
manifestly appear to every man, by reason of which in all those times they were 
polluted and practised oppression, and walked every man in his own words, and 
remembered not the law of the Mighty One. Therefore, a fire will consume their 
thoughts, and in flame will the meditations of their veins be tried; for the Judge will 
come and will not tarry. ^° 


Go now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver 
are cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your 
flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold the 
hire of the laborers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back 
by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears 
of the Lord of Hosts. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton: ye 
have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed 
the just; and he doth 

not resist you. Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, 
the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and bath long patience 
for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stabhish your 




hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, 
brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the Judge standeth at the door.^' 

These utterances read almost like a commentary on the words of Josephus: 

Now the affairs of the Jews grew worse and worse continually. For the country was 
again full of bands of robbers, and of impostors who deluded the multitude .... 
(The former) slew both their own enemies and those whom other men wanted them 
to kill for money, not only in other parts of the city, but some even in the temple 
itself, for they had the boldness to murder men there, without thinking of the 
impiety of which they were guilty. And this seems to me the reason why God, out 
of hatred of these men's wickedness, rejected our city, and no longer judged the 
temple sufficiently pure for him to dwell therein, but brought the Romans upon us, 
and threw a fire upon the city to purge it. And impostors and deceivers urged the 
people to follow them into the wilderness, and pretended that they would exhibit 
manifest wonders and signs that should be performed by the providence of God.^^ 

On the other hand, promises of the pleasures of the Millennial Kingdom were held out to the 
stricken people. 

The days will come, in which vines shall grow, each having ten thousand shoots, 
and on each shoot ten thousand branches, and on each branch, ten thousand twigs, 
and on each twig ten thousand clusters, and on each cluster ten thousand grapes, 
and each grape when pressed shall yield five and twenty measures of wine. ^^ 

It cannot be fortuitous that such a promise of abundance should be quoted by Papias as a 
saying of Jesus, and again in the Apocalypse ofBaruch.^'^ We can hardly fail to conclude 
that the Zealot-Nazarenes and the Zealot-Pharisees were drawn together during the struggle 
by a common aim and not very divergent expectations. In fact, the only real distinction was 
the Nazarene equation, the Messiah is Jesus. 

But while this distinction was not of great moment to the bolder sort of 


Zealots, it was of enormous importance to the particularist Pharisees atid to the Sadducees: 
according to Old Russian version of Josephus it was the subject of an inscription set in the 
Temple balustrade, and it was the cause of the death of James the Just. 

The Judean sky was heavily overcast with thunderclouds. The atmosphere was electric. The 
first hot drops that were to release the pent up fury of the elements came blood red from the 
mangled body of the venerable President of the Nazarenes. His martyrdom signalized the end of 
moderate counsels. 

As Festus was now dead — writes Josephus — and Albinus (the new procurator) was still 
on the road, so he (the high priest Ananias) assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought 
before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some 
others, and having accused them as breakers of the Law, he delivered them over to be stoned. 
But those who seemed the most moderate of the citizens, and strict in the observance of the 
Law, disliked what was done; and secretly sent to King Agrippa, beseeching him to bid 
Ananias to act so no more, for what he had already done was not done rightly. ^^ 


A more elaborate account of the death of James is given by the second-century Jewish 
Christian historian Hegesippus: 

As there were many therefore of the rulers that believed, there arose a tumult among the 
Jews, Scribes and Pharisees, saying that there was danger, that the people would now expect 
Jesus as the Messiah. They came together therefore, and said to James, We entreat thee, 
restrain the people, who are led astray after Jesus, as if he were the Messiah. We entreat thee 
to persuade all that are coming to the feast of the Passover rightly concerning Jesus; for we 
all have confidence in thee. For we and all the people bear thee witness that thou art just, and 
thou respectest not persons. Persuade, therefore, the people not to be led astray by Jesus, for 
we and all the people have great confidence in thee. Stand therefore upon a pinnacle of the 
temple, that thou mayest be conspicuous on high, and thy words may be easily heard by all 
the people; for all the tribes have come together on account of the Passover with some of the 
Gentiles also. 


These Scribes and Pharisees therefore placed James on a pinnacle of the temple, 
and cried out to him. O thou just one, whom we ought all to believe, since the 
people are led astray after Jesus that was crucified, declare to us what is the door of 
salvation. And he answered with a loud voice. Why ask ye me concerning Jesus the 
Son of Man? He is now sitting in the heavens on the right hand of Great Power, and 
is about to come again on the clouds of heaven. And as many were confirmed, and 
gloried in this testimony of James, and cried, Hosanna to the son of David, these 
same priests and Pharisees said to one another. We have erred in affording such 
testimony to Jesus, but let us go up and cast him down, that they may dread to 
believe in him. And they cried out. Oh! Oh! the Just himself is deceived, and they 
fulfilled that which is written in Isaiah, Let us take away the just, because he is 
offensive to us; wherefore, they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Going up, 
therefore, they cast down the Just one, saying to one another, let us stone James the 

And they began to stone him, as he did not die immediately when cast down; but turning 
round he knelt down saying, I beseech thee, Lord God and Father, forgive them, for they 
know not what they do. Thus they were stoning him, when one of the priests of the sons of 
Rechab, a descendant of the Rechabites spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet, cried out, saying. 
Cease! What are you doing? The Just is praying for you. But one of them, a fuller, beat out 
the brains of the Just with the club that he used to beat out clothes. Thus he suffered 
martyrdom, and they buried him on the spot, where his tombstone still remains, close by the 
Temple. He became a faithful witness, both to the Jews and Greeks, that Jesus is the 

Reading between the lines of these accounts of the death of James, then is a strong suspicion 
of a premeditated conspiracy to destroy this important personality if his testimony should prove 
unsatisfactory, and to do so in a way that would appear to be accidental. 

This last act of treachery on the part of Ananias and his partisans, however, alienated the 
sympathies of those who still venerated the chief priests on account of their sacred office. The 
murdered saint was speedily avenged; for in the early days of the war with Rome Ananias and 



most of the other chief priests were slain by the Idumeans whom the zealots had brought into 
Jerusalem, and their bodies were cast out without burial. 



Chapter III 


At this stage of affairs in Judaea it is necessary to digress a little, only however, to record 
circumstances of another kind, but equally unhappy, elsewhere. 

After the Council of Jerusalem, Paul had set out with Silas on a second missionary journey, 
creating new Christian centers in Phrygia, Galatia, Macedonia and Achaia, under the terms of 
agreement reached at the Council. But after the lapse of some years strange tales began to filter 
through to Jerusalem. Paul, carried away by the success of his preaching to the Gentiles, had 
begun to magnify his office. He had declared that "the just shall live by faith," and that "by the 
deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified.^' He bade his converts not to be "entangled again 
with the yoke of bondage." He was reported to have said, "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye 
be circumcised, the Messiah shall profit you nothing."^** He was further quoted, but without 
foundation to have taught, "Let us do evil that good may come."^' 

All this seemed bad enough, but soon other messages began to arrive telling of the unbridled 
licentiousness which had broken out among the Gentile Christians. To do Paul justice, the 
unexpected literalness with which his words had been taken, shocked him immeasurable. 

The Epistles of St. Paul — writes S. Baring Gould — exhibit him grappling with this 
terrible evil, crying out in anguish against the daily growing scandals, insisting that 
his converts should leave off their "rioting and drunkenness, chambering and 
wantonness, strife and envying;" that their bodies were temples of the spirit of God, 
not to be defiled with impurity; that it was in vain to deceive themselves by 
boasting their faith and appealing to the freedom of Grace. ^° 

On receipt of the sad news of the conditions prevailing in the Gentile communities, a circular 
letter was issued by the leaders of Jewish Christianity in the name of Peter, as one well-known to 
the Asiatic Christians. This letter it is unnecessary to quote at length, but the Gentile Christians 
are strongly warned against "those who have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, 
following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who "allure through the lust of the flesh, through 
much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error," who "while they 


promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption."^' 

Henceforth, by the bulk of Jewish Christians, Paul was anathematized as a apostate from the 
Law,^^ and his way and theirs lay ever apart. 

The strain of these events told on the apostle of the Gentiles. Feeling his helplessness, he, who 
had for so long been independent, turned like a tired child to its mother, and made all haste to 
Jerusalem. Taking leave of the Ephesian elders at Miletus, he set sail for Palestine and landed at 
Tyre. When he reached Jerusalem, and the apostles saw the weary figure, they had nothing in 
their hearts but sympathy, and said to him: 

Thou seest, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are which believe; and they are all 
zealous of the Law: and they are informed of thee that thou teachest all the Jews which are 


among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their 
children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore, the multitude must needs 
come together for they will hear that thou are come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: 
we have four men which have a vow upon them; them take and purify thyself with them. 
That all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee are 
nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the Law.^^ 

Paul willingly obeyed, and was not hypocritical in so doing, for though he had fought 
strenuously for Gentile liberty he had never advocated the giving up by Jews of their ancestral 
customs, and he himself remained an observant Jew to the end of his life. In his last recorded 
speech he could say with sincerity, "I have committed nothing against the people or customs of 
our fathers."^"* It is unnecessary to labor this point, but on at least two occasions Paul left his 
mission field to hasten to Jerusalem for an impending festival. This time, as the apostles had 
foreseen, while at worship in the temple, he was recognized by certain Jews of Asia, who at once 
made a clamor. Such a disturbance in those violent days was sufficient to rouse the whole city. 
And as they went about to kill Paul tidings came to the commander of the Roman garrison, ever 
on the alert, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar, who immediately took soldiers and centurions 
and succeeded in securing Paul and carrying him into the Castle of Antonia, overlooking the 
temple area, under the impression that he was an 


Egyptian false prophet who had lately been making mischief 

Josephus records of this man: 

He was a cheat and impostor, and yet got credited as a prophet, and came to Judaea, and 
got together thirty thousand deluded men, whom he led round from the wilderness to the 
mount, which was called the Mount of Olives, and intended to break into Jerusalem by force 
from that place; and if he could but once conquer the Roman garrison and the people, he 
intended to domineer over them by the assistance of those bodyguards of his that were to 
break into the city with him. But Felix prevented his attempt, and met him with his Roman 
soldiers, and all the people assisted Felix against him, so that, when it came to a battle, the 
Egyptian ran away with a few others, but most of those that were with him were either killed 
or taken alive; and the rest of the multitude dispersed every one to their own homes, and 
there concealed themselves. ^^ 

Having made known his identity to the Roman commander, Paul was presently brought before 
the Council of the Priests, presided over by the insolent and high-handed Ananias. Hardly had he 
commenced his defence before this unworthy high priest, true to his character, ordered him to be 
smitten on the mouth. Realizing that there would be no justice fc him in such an assembly, Paul 
attempted to create a division between the Pharisee and Sadducee members by claiming to be a 
Pharisee, and appealing to his faith in the resurrection, a doctrine which the Sadduce denied. The 
desired result was obtained, and the council broke up in disorder. Paul was taken back under 
guard into the Antonia. 

The next day Paul's nephew brought information to the castle of conspiracy to assassinate 
him, upon hearing which the Roman commander determined to send Paul secretly to Caesar to 
Felix, and wrote the following letter in explanation: 

Claudias Lysias, unto the most excellent governor Felix, greeting. 


This man was taken of the Jews and should have been killed of them. Then came I with an 
army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman. And when I would have 
known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth unto their council; whom 
I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge 
worthy of death or bonds. And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait 


for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say 
before thee what they had against him. 


In due course Ananias with some of the elders arrived at Caesarea bringing with them an 
orator named Tertullus to state their case before Felix, accusing Paul of being a mover of 
sedition, and a ring-leader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Paul ably defended himself, but the case 
was adjourned. For the next two years he was kept in custody at Caesarea because he would not 
bribe Felix to release him. But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; "and Felix willing 
to show the Jews a pleasure left Paul bound. "^^ This attempt to placate the Jewish authorities, 
with whom Felix was in bad odor, was unsuccessful, and they sent a deputation after him to 
accuse him to Nero. From this he only escaped punishment through the influence of his brother 

No sooner was Festus installed in his office than further representations were made against 
Paul by Ananias and his adherents, upon which Paul appealed to Caesar, to whom accordingly he 
was sent not long after. But before his last journey westward, Paul had a unique opportunity of 
declaring his faith in the Messiah before no less a dignitary that Agrippa II, the last titular king of 
the Jews, who with his sister Berenice had come to Caesarea to greet Festus. 

About the same time that Paul arrived in Rome, it would appear that Peter in the course of his 
pastoral visitations had come there also. Tradition, at any rate, brings these two great Jewish 
Christians together before the curtain falls on their eventful lives. Each had contributed his 
share towards setting up the kingdom of God among men, and though often opposed to one 
another in policy, both were united in an undying devotion to the one whom they believed to 
by God's Messiah. The Acts of Peter and Paul toucMm^y records their last meeting: "And 
seeing each other they wept for joy: and long embracing each other, they bedewed each other 
with their tears." In the same document the Roman Christians declare: "We have believed and 
do believe, that as God does not separate the two great lights which He has made, so He is not 
to part you from each other, neither Peter from Paul, nor Paul from Peter." 

The two apostles are believed to have suffered martyrdom about the same time, Peter by 
crucifixion head downwards, and Paul by beheading. They had fought a good fight, they had 
finished the course, 


they had kept the faith: henceforth, there was laid up for them a crown righteousness, which the 
Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give them at that day. 


Chapter IV 

Under the next two procurators of Judaea, Albinus and Gessius Florus, the cup of Israel's 
misfortunes overflowed. These officials made common cause with the brigands who were 
overrunning the country, receiving a share of the spoils in return for official protection, 

so that there were no bounds set to the nation's miseries; but the unhappy Jews, 
being unable to bear the devastations which the robbers made among them, were all 
forced to leave their own habitations and flee away, as if they could dwell better 
anywhere else in the world among foreigners. And why need I say any more — 
continues Josephus — for it was Florus who forced us to take up armies against the 
Romans, as we thought it better to be destroyed at once than little by little." 

Among those who now began to leave the Holy City until the indignation could be overpast 
were the majority of the Nazarenes and the moderate members of the Pharisaic party. The 
former, under the leadership of Ion(?) the son of Cleophas, a cousin of Jesus who had succeeded 
James, sought refuge in the neighborhood of Pella in the Decapolis; the latter, (?)er Jochanan the 
son of Zakkai, retired to Yavneh on the sea coast. What impelled both parties to take this course 
was a belief that the prophecies concerning the Last Days were being fulfilled before their eyes. 

Ancient Scriptures had prefigured the destruction of the temple (the holy house built of cedars) 
in the doom of Lebanon. "Behold the Lord, the Lord of Hosts shall lop the bough with terror: and 
the high ones (?)tature shall be hewn down, and the haughty ones shall be humbled, and (?)anon 
shall fall by a mighty one .... Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the (?) may devout thy cedars."^** 
In addition, the Jewish Christians had the (?)r warnings of the Messiah.^' 

This is not the place to deal with such a controversial question, but to the (?)ter there seems to 
be strong evidence that the Nazareth of the New Testament was not situated in western Galilee, 
but across the Jordan in the Decapolis, and that it is for this reason that the Jewish Christians 
took refuge there, where their descendants remain to this day. 

Soon, all too soon, the worst fears of the moderate citizens were justified. War with Rome was 
declared, and, after a temporary setback Roman arms, the forces of Vespasian like another 
Noahic flood. Swept over the country. Galilee fell, then northern Judaea, until on a day the 


watcher on the walls of Zion could catch the glint of sunlight on the Roman eagles in the 
surrounding valley. 

The scope of this history excludes a description of those awful years. Jewish agony which 
culminated in the destruction of the Temple. Jewish reminiscences of the war reveal by their 
confused chronology, their vi(?) and exaggerated accounts of slaughter and slavery, how terrible 
was their impression of the ghastly tragedy left on the national consciousness. "For seven years," 
it is said, "the nations of the world cultivated their vineyards with no other manure than the blood 
of Israel. '^° 

In light of these events the warnings of Jesus took on a contemporary coloring. According to 
one evangelist his prophecy had run: 


And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the 
desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; 
and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the 
countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which 
are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that 
give suck in those days? For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath 
upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led 
away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles 
until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."*' 

This, however, is not the only Jewish Christian reference to war. The Book of Revelation, the 
interpretation of which is so disputed owing to the general ignorance of Jewish Christianity, 
message from one of the Nazarene leaders, deported like many others after the war, to the 
Christian communities in Asia Minor, explaining them, necessarily in cryptic language because 
of the Roman athorities the state of affairs in Judaea, and bidding them hold fast to their faith 
these calamities were signs of the Lord's speedy return. "These sayings are faithful and true," he 
writes, "and the Lord God of the holy prophets hath sent his messenger to show unto his servants 
the things which shortly be done." How the scroll was smuggled out of Patmos and reached its 
destination tradition does not record; but its contents are illuminating that no writer of Jewish 
Christian history can afford to neglect them."*^ 

John, the author, explains that while in exile on the island of Patmos 


was commanded in a vision to write a book and send it to the seven strategic Christian 
communities of Asia, narrating the course of redemptive history, past, present and future. Each 
of the communities to whom the Revelation is sent receives a separate admonition accompanied 
by a warning to look for the real meaning underlying the imagery. "He that bath an ear, let him 
hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.""*^ 

The first part of the Revelation follows the same lines as the preceding chapters of this work. 
All that has transpired since the Ascension is incomprehensible apart from the Messiah, who 
alone can open the book of God's purposes (ch. 5). The most significant events that preceded the 
war with Rome are briefly passed in review. The seer refers to the early conquests of the Faith, 
and then to the general unrest that prevailed in Palestine. He speaks of the famine in the reign of 
Claudius Caesar, and the misery and anarchy that followed in its wake: when Death stalked 
abroad, and men perished by the sword and hunger, and by the ravages of the brigands (the wild 
beast of the earth), who had come out of their mountain dens. Next comes an allusion to the 
persecution which the Jewish Christians suffered at the hands of the Jewish and Roman 
authorities, and their cry to God for justice in language reminiscent of the Epistle of James, 
ending with the forceful description of the reign of terror under the prouratorship of Gessius 
Florus (ch. 6). The judgments are now about to fall on Jerusalem, but not before the servants of 
God are sealed (ch. 7). A brief and dramatic pause follows, and then the trumpets of judgment 
sound, and the land reels under a deluge of hail and fire and blood (ch. 8). There is the clank of 
cavalry, the tramp of armies, all the denizens of the pit are let loose; mailed Romans, long-haired 
mercenaries, locusts and scorpions invade the unhappy country (ch. 9). The scenes in the 
detracted city are dealt with in chapter 11; the last witnesses are slain and their unburied bodies 
are cast out; earthquakes (assaults) shatter the walls; Jerusalem is to be trodden down of the 


Gentiles for the prophetic period of a time, times, and a half 

As to the present, the seer writes that the Palestinean Jewish Christians are safe in the desert, 
having escaped the general destruction (ch. 12). Moreover, he says, Rome's triumph is to be 
short-lived. After the conquest of Palestine "all the world wondered at the Beasf ' "Who is like 
unto the Beast (Rome)?" was the universal cry. "Who is able to make war with him?" (13:3-4) 
Then comes the prophecy, "If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity 
shall go into captivity; 


he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the 
saints" (13:9-10). 

With this summary of past and present events the seer goes on to outline the future. The 
Roman Empire is about to feel the mighty hand of God; but before the vials of wrath are poured 
out a last opportunity of repentance is to be given the nations. "And I saw another angel fly in the 
midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to proclaim unto them that dwell on the earth, and 
to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice. Fear God, and 
give glory to him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters" (14:6-7). 
The imagery of the succeeding chapters runs almost parallel to the judgments on Jerusalem, only 
with added horrors, illustrating the saying of Peter, "For the time of judgment is come that 
judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them 
that obey not the gospel of God?""^ As in Judaea, so in the Diaspora, God has faithful servants 
"that had gotten the victory over the Beast, and over his image, and over his mark" (15:2). They 
stand on the shore of the Red Sea of Fire in which the armies of the neo-Egyptians (Romans) are 
perishing, and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb (15:2-4). Chapter 16 describes the 
judgments that are to overtake Rome. Pestilence strikes the adherents of the Beast; the waters are 
dyed crimson with the blood of the slain; thousands perish by fire and famine; the eastern powers 
rise in revolt; false counsellors urge on Rome and her allies to their doom at Armageddon, where 
East and West meet in a mutually destructive conflict. The chapter closes with an image of a 
"great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent," a good instance of a seer's 
crypticism of which the meaning has been preserved. It happens that Josephus, describing the 
siege of Jotapata by Vespasian, states, "Then simultaneously the catapults hurled lances with a 
great noise, and stones of the weight of a talent were thrown by the engines for hurling stones.'"*^ 

The fall of Rome herself is foretold under the figure of Babylon (chs. 17-18). At her 
overthrow, the hallelujahs of the saints are heard; the Messiah rides forth at the head of the 
angelic hosts to complete the discomfiture of the enemy; the Millennium is ushered in (chs. 19- 

The seer, however, has not finished his message. There is to be a final outbreak of rebellion by 
the forces of evil, instantly quelled, after which follows the Last Judgment and the creation of a 
new heaven and a new earth; the new Jerusalem "whose builder and maker is God" becomes a 


lasting habitation for the righteous (chs. 20-22). 

Such in all too brief compass is this great Jewish Christian apocalypse, embodying the belief 
of the faithful Jewish followers of the Messiah, which nerved them in all their terrible sufferings 
of those days. "He which testifieth these things saith. Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, 


come, Lord Jesus." Who shall say that their faith in the immediate judgment of Rome, and the 
return of the Messiah in glory, was unjustified! Had not Jesus himself, when on earth, stated 

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the 
moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers 
of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in 
heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the son of 
Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. "^ 

Such was also the faith of the non-Christian Jewish exiles, based on the study of the prophetic 
writings. After the fatal words "Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one" did there not follow 
immediately "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse"?"^^ proving that the 
Messiah would come shortly after the destruction of the temple. 

Nazarenes and Pharisee had yet to learn that "the Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as 
some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, 
but that all should come to repentance.'*'* 



Chapter V 


The political crisis in Jewish affairs engendered among the Churches of the Empire a coldness 
and aloofness towards the Jewish Christians, which, after the second Jewish revolt in the reign of 
Hadrian, led to almost complete separation. The Roman Christians could not be expected to 
sympathize with the national aspirations of the Nazarenes. For them, the destruction of Jerusalem 
and the cessation of the temple services meant the end of the Law. It came to them as a happy 
release from the incubus of Judaism and left them free to develop a Christian philosophy of their 
own better suited to the Gentile temperament. 

But the old Nazarene community — to quote Baring Gould — the Church of James 
and Simeon, clinging tightly to its old traditions, crouched in exile at Pella, 
confounded by the Romans in common banishment with the Jew. The guards thrust 
back Nazarene and Jew alike with their spears, when they ventured to approach the 
ruins of their prostrate city, the capital of their nation and of their faith.'*' 

Irenaeus observes of these Jewish Christians: "They practise circumcision, persevere in the 
observance of those Customs which are enjoined by the Law, and are so Judaic in their mode of 
life that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God. "'^° Their Christology was a 
simple one. They believed that Jesus was the natural son of Joseph and Mary, elected to the high 
office of Messiah by virtue of his holy life and Davidic descent; that he had been so designated at 
his baptism by the entering in of the Holy Spirit, and the Voice which proclaimed, "Thou are my 
son, this day have I begotten thee." They also believed that after proclaiming the kingdom of 
God, he laid down his life for the salvation of Israel, was buried, rose again from the dead, 
ascended into Heaven, and would shortly come again to set up his kingdom, and reign over the 
house of Jacob forever. 

The Gentile Christians, on the other hand, were ignorant of the meaning of the term "son of 
God" in its Messianic sense, but were familiar with its use in their mythologies to signify one 
begotten of a god in a supernatural sense. Thus Justin Martyr writes in his First Apology to the 

And when we say also that the Logos, who is the firstborn of God, was produced without 
sexual union, and that he, Jesus 


Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, arid ascended in to Heaven, we 
propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of 
Jupiter .... Moreover, the Son of God, called Jesus, even if only a man by ordinary 
generation, yet, on account of his wisdom, is worthy to be called the son of God; for all 
writers call God the Father of men and gods. And if we assert that the Word of God was born 
of God in a peculiar manner, different hum ordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is 
the angelic Word of God. But if anyone object that he was crucified, in this also he is 
comparable to those reputed sons of Jupiter of yours, who suffered as we have now 
enumerated. . . . And if we even affirm that he was bom of a virgin, accept this in common 
with what you accept of Perseus. And in that we say that he made whole the lame, the 
paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have 


been done by Aesculapius.^' 

Thus by the pressure of political circumstances and racial antipathies Jewish and Gentile 
Christianity drew apart, each following the path of its inherited tendencies, and developing its 
beliefs along the lines of its own racial genius. Paul's great ideal of Jew and Gentile both one in 
Christ could not then be realized, because neither would acknowledge the right of the other to 
regard God's revelation from the standpoint of his own psychology. 

The separation was not made without some bitterness being displayed. Jewish Christians 
charged the Gentiles with apostasy from the teaching of Jesus and his disciples. They stressed 
their designation ofEMonim "the poor of the world, rich in faith" and therefore the true heirs of 
the kingdom of God, in contrast to the comparatively wealthy but unfaithful Gentile Christians. 
Those, on the other hand, retorted that they did well to call themselves Ebionites, seeing that they 
held such poor opinions about the person of Jesus, or perhaps it was their own intellect that was 
poverty-stricken, or even the Law to which they adhered;^^ and they quoted Isaiah 54: 1, "Rejoice 
O barren that didst not bear... for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the 
married wife," to prove that the converts from among the Gentiles were both more numerous and 
truer than those from among the Jews and Samaritans. ^^ 

Looking back on the doctrinal development of what is termed the sub-apostolic age, the Jewish 
Christian historian Hegesippus wrote regretfully: 


The Church continued until then as a pure and uncorrupt virgin; whilst if there were any at 
all that attempted to pervert the sound doctrine of the saving gospel, they were yet skulking 
in dark retreats; but when the sacred choir of apostles became extinct, and the generation of 
those that had been privileged to hear their inspired wisdom had passed away, then also the 
combinations of impious error arose by the fraud and delusions of false teachers. These also, 
as there were none of the apostles left, henceforth attempted, without shame, to preach their 
false doctrine against the true Gospel. ^"^ 


Apart from doctrinal issues, the sub-apostolic age found Jewish Christianity in a unique 
position, which has received but scant recognition at the hands of ecclesiastical historians. From 
the time of the martyrdom of James the Just, the Nazarenes had placed the government of their 
affairs in the hands of the surviving relatives of the Messiah. "There are, also," says Hegesippus, 
"those that take the lead of the whole Church as witnesses, even the kindred of our Lord. And 
when profound peace was established throughout the whole Church they continued to the days of 
the Emperor Trajan."^'' 

Not only were these Desposynoi (heirs), as they came to be called, venerated by reason of 
their relationship to the Messiah, but also because of their Davidic descent, on account of which 
they suffered frequent persecution. They were justly proud of their lineage, and it is due to them 
that the genealogy of Jesus at the beginning of Matthew's Gospel was compiled. Mention is 
made of this by Julius Africanus in his famous letter to Aristides: 

And these (Desposynoi) coming from Nazara and Kochaba, Jewish villages, to the 
other parts of the country, set forth the above-named genealogy, as accurately as 
possible, from the book of Chronicles. 


Eusebius records several persecutions of the Jews in the reigns of the Emperors Vespasian, 
Domitian and Trajan, three of these instigated with the object of securing any members of the 
house of David, who might yet be alive, and thus obviating the risk of Messianic insurrections. 
In the second persecution, under Domitian, the two grandsons of Jude the brother of Jesus, James 
and Zocher, were arrested and brought before the 


emperor. Their interrogation by Domitian is reported by Hegesippus, ans ???? follows: 

He put the question, whether they were David's race, and they confessed that they 
were. He then asked them what property they had, or how much money they 
possessed. And both of them answered that they had between them only nine 
thousand denarii, and this they had not in silver, but in the value of a piece of land, 
containing only thirty-nine acres; from which they raised their taxes and supported 
themselves by their own labor. Then they also began to show their hands, 
exhibiting the hardness of their bodies, and the callosity formed by incessant labor 
on their hands, as evidence of their own labor. When asked, also, respecting the 
Messiah and his Kingdom, what was its nature, and when and where it was to 
appear, they replied, that it was not a temporal nor an earthly kingdom, but celestial 
and angelic; that it would appear at the end of the world, when coming in glory he 
would judge the living and the dead, and give to everyone according to his works. 
Upon which Domitian, despising them, made no reply; but treating them with 
contempt as simpletons commanded them to be dismissed, and by a decree ordered 
the persecution to cease. ^^ 

In the third persecution, under Trajan, Simon the son of Cleophas, a cousin of Jesus and 
successor to James in the presidency of the Jewish Christian communities, fell a victim; betrayed 
it would seem by some evil disposed Gentile Christian sectaries. Hegesippus states that this 
venerable disciple of the Messiah, reputed to have been a hundred and twenty years old, was 
accused as a Christian and as a descendant of David. 

After he was tormented many days, he died a martyr with such firmness that all 
were amazed, even the proconsul (Atticus) himself, that a man of a hundred and 
twenty years should bear such tortures. He was at last ordered to be crucified." 

Thus perished the second bishop of the Jewish Christian flock, probably the last of those who 
had seen and heard the Messiah, and who therefore had the best means of knowing the truth 
concerning his person and doctrine; a fact that must always be recognized n dealing with 
primitive Jewish Christian beliefs. 

Another Jewish Christian, Justus, a recent convert, but not of the kindred of Jesus, succeeded 
Simon in the presidency. From this time, circa 110 


AD., the government passed from the relatives of Jesus, and it is possible from the numbers 
given that the presidency became an office of annual appointment. Until the second Jewish revolt 
in 133 A.D., thirteen Jewish Christian bishops of Jerusalem are mentioned. Their names are 
given as Justus, Zaccheus, Tobias, Benjamin, John, Matthias, Philip, Seneca, Justus II, Levi, 
Ephraim, Joseph, and Judas. ^'^ 


In 133 A.D. another disastrous war broke out in Palestine. A change in the policy of Hadrian, 
hitherto pacific inwards the conquered people, produced an intolerable situation from the Jewish 
point of view. Cruel edicts were promulgated which outraged their deepest religious feelings, 
and led them to revolt a second time from Roman rule under the leadership of Bar-Kochba, a 
pseudo-Messiah. It would seem that the Jews were not wholly unprepared for the struggle, and 
before the revolt could be suppressed, Hadrian had to fetch his ablest general, Julius Severus, 
from Britain, to command the Roman forces. The Jewish Christians, although they suffered as 
much as their non-christian brethren from the Roman persecutions, refused to join the ranks of 
the new Messiah. If Jesus had not at that time restored the kingdom to Israel, it was not in the 
power of such a one as Bar-Kochba to do so. Surely Jesus himself had said, "I am i come in my 
Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will 


Bar-Kochba found his greatest champion among the Jewish sages in Rabbi Akiba, who did 
not hesitate to proclaim him as the Messiah; but there were many among the old Pharisaic party 
who, equally with the Nazarenes, refused to acknowledge him. "Akiba," said one of them, "grass 
will grow out of thy chin before Messiah come." The traditions, favorable and unfavorable, 
reveal Bar-Kochba as a brave but utterly ruthless man. It is said that he commanded all his 
soldiers to cut off one of their fingers to prove their courage, and he did not hesitate to execute 
his aged uncle. Rabbi Eleazer of Nodeim, on the flimsiest evidence that he had played traitor. In 
striking contrast to the pious and heroic Judas Maccabaeus, Bar-Kochba could pray before a 
battle, "We pray thee, O Lord, give no assistance to the enemy; us thou needst not help!" His 
persecution of the Jewish Christians is in keeping with the rest of his conduct. Galled by their 
refusal to rally to his standard, he gave orders that if they would not deny Jesus, and execrate his 
name they were to be 


tortured.^" Equally, the prey of friend and foe, the plight of the Nazarenes was indeed a desperate 

As in the previous revolt, the fortunes of war went first in favor of the Jews, but 
after a prolonged struggle and heavy losses on both sides, Roman arms again 
triumphed, and Bar-Kochba was slain while defending the stronghold of Bethar. So 
grave, however, had been the Roman casualties in this last Jewish fight for 
freedom, that Hadrian, in reporting to the Senate the cessation of hostilities, omitted 
"the army" in the customary phrase, "I and the army are well." 

The Jewish Christians had now nothing more to fear from their disillusioned nation, but their 
sufferings were by no means ended. Both Christian and non-Christian Jews were fugitives from 
Roman vengeance, sharing the same privations, hiding in caves and mountain fastnesses, 
enduring a common banishment. The cruel edicts which had occasioned the war were intensified; 
a plough was drawn over Jerusalem and a new city Aelia Capitolina rose on its ruins: all Jews 
were forbidden to approach their ancient capital on pain of death. On the site of the temple 
another edifice was erected and dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus. A statue of Hadrian marked the 
spot where once the altar of Jehovah had stood; while over the Bethlehem gate a pig's head was 
wrought in relief In this pagan city, from which Jewish Christians were barred, the Gentile 
Church constituted itself under a Gentile bishop, Marcu. 


Jewish Christianity never regained its position of authority in the affairs of the Church. The 
Hadrianic war, which had wrung the death knell of Jewish hopes of political independence, had 
also relegated the Church of the apostles to the rank of a heretical sect. Henceforth the Jewish 
Christians, while they observed their ancestral customs, were practically excluded from the 
Catholic Church, and might only associate with one another in their own communities scattered 
about Coele-Syria and Transjordania, of whom the new orthodoxy could afterwards say "that 
while they will be both Jews and Christians, they are neither Jews not Christians.'"^' 

The Synagogue too now joined hands with the Gentile Church in this policy of exclusion, and 
in order to prevent the attendance of Nazarenes at Jewish places of worship a curse against 
sectaries was inserted in a part of the daily ritual which every Jew was required to repeat.^' This 
curse, composed by Samuel the younger, early in the second century, is still retained in a 
modified form in Jewish liturgical usage in the Shemoneh 


Esreh (Eighteen Benedictions). Originally, it is believed to have read: 

Let there be no hope for the apostates. 

And let all the sectaries perish as in a moment. 

Out of the agony of their experience, the Jewish Christians might well echo the words of the 
apostle Paul: "We both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain 
dwelling place; and labor, working with out hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we 
suffer it; being defamed, we entreat, we are made as the refuse of the world, the offscourings of 
all things, unto this day. [42/43] 



Chapter VI 


At this stage in the history of Jewish Christianity, it is necessary to devote some space to the 
methods of propaganda employed in carrying the Gospel both to Jews and Gentiles. The world as 
it was known to the geographers of the second century AD. was much smaller than it is today. 
The great continents of North and South America and Australia, large tracts of Africa, Asia and 
Northern Europe were still terra incognita. The borders of civilization were soon passed, and the 
travellers found themselves among uncouth and unfriendly tribes; it was indeed a venture of faith 
to brave the unknown dangers which lurked on every hand, calling for great courage and 
endurance and an indomitable spirit in those who set their faces towards the far horizon. To 
undertake such an enterprise without armed escort, or merchandise to purchase safe conduct, was 
to court disaster and death. Yet the command "Go and teach all nations," was obeyed to the letter 
by the Jewish disciples. Their only defensive weapon was the promise, "Lo, I am with you 
always"; their only merchandise was the bread and water of life contained in the sacred Hebrew 
scrolls which they bore with them. Before they left Judaea they had been furnished with copies 
of a small work, "a book of the word of God, and a narrative of the miracles and doctrines," 
written in the Hebrew tongue and, tradition says, compiled by Matthew.^"* 

Many strange and wonderful tales are related concerning what befell the Apostles in foreign 
lands, but even eliminating a great deal that is embroidery by pious hands, enough remains to 
reveal the extent of their travels and the obstacles which they surmounted. Most of them were 
called upon to lay down their lives for their faith far from friends and kindred, but no worthier 
monument can be erected to their memory than that "the walls of the City of God had twelve 
foundations, arid in them the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb."^^ 

In every place where converts were won. Christian synagogues were established with native 
pastors, and for the conduct of these Gentile congregations the parent community in Palestine 
issued a manual of instruction. A version of this precious document was found in the Jerusalem 
monastery at Constantinople and published in 1883. It is written in Greek and bears the title. The 
Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. The manual opens with a description of the Two Ways, of life 


death, and urges the Christian to keep the commandments of Moses and Jesus to the best of his 
ability. Then follows instruction about baptism, fasting and prayer, and the celebration of 
thanksgiving at the beginning of the communal meal. Advice is given about the reception of 
apostles, prophets and teachers, and how to distinguish between the true and the false. Apostles 
must not remain longer that two days. Resident prophets are to receive the first fruits of all 
produce. The wayfaring disciple is to be cared for, but if he decides to settle he must earn his 
living. Other sections deal with diets of worship and the election of pastors and deacons. The 
Gospel is to be the final court of appeal in all matters. The Teaching closes with an admonition 
to be ready for the Messiah's return and a description of the signs of the end. 

Jewish Christian propaganda among the Gentiles may be summed up in the words, "That they 
may know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."*^ The method of 
approach was largely through preaching. A prejudice existed in Jewish minds against committing 


the Scriptures to writing in any other than the sacred tongue. The day on which the Old 
Testament was rendered into Greek was said to be as evil as that on which the golden calf was 
made. Pantaenus, visiting the Indies late in the second century, reported, "that he found his own 
arrival anticipated by some ... to whom Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached, and had 
left them the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew."*^^ 

With the propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, the position was quite otherwise. Though 
preaching mainly in the form of disputation played an important part, the approach was largely 
through writing, and even the disputations centered round the interpretation of the sacred scrolls 
and resolved themselves into a searching of the Scriptures to see whether these things were so.^** 
The situation may best be summarized in the words, "These things are written that ye might 
believe that Jesus is Messiah."® Paul expressed the distinction in a sentence: "Seeing it is one 
God which shall justify the circumcision out of (ek) their own faith, and uncircumcision through 
(dia) acquired faith."™ 

The methods of written propaganda propaganda employed in apostolic times were not always 
such as would commend themselves today. Polemic writers readily took advantage of the 
difficulty and expense of manuscript production. If an author had enjoyed a reputation 


among a certain group of people whom it was desired to influence, it was not thought iniquitous 
to secure a copy of his works and to insert in them, either in the margin or in the body of the text 
the ideas which it was intended to promote. Sectaries of all kinds freely interpolated one 
another's documents and so carried the war into the enemy's camp. A man who spoke with 
authority, and whose pronouncements were binding on a particular party, was made to voice 
sentiments which he never owned and to support doctrines to which, perhaps, he was completely 
opposed. This fashion of "pseudonymous propaganda," as Bate calls it, had first been set by 
Greek writers, but was later adopted by Jewish and finally by Christian authors. 

In his introduction to the Sibylline oracles Bate deals with Jewish interpolations in these 
interesting books. 

In the third and second century B.C. the Judaism of the Dispersion found itself in 
close and manifold contact with Hellenism. To the Alexandrian Jew the Hellenic 
world was both a friend and an enemy. He was attracted, influenced, enriched by its 
wisdom, its poetry, its history: he was challenged and repelled by its religion and 
(apart from the kindred influence of Stoicism) by its morals. The problem then 
arose how a Greek-speaking Jew could best maintain his place in two worlds so 
strangely diverse as those of Zion and Hellas: how he could commend his own faith 
and practice to the Greeks whose intellectual life he shared, and uphold their 
authority and prestige over against the cults and traditions of Hellas. In answer to 
these problems there came into being a considerable literature in which the names 
of Greek authors were used with a freedom which would now be considered less 
than honest. The works or fragments so produced had one of two motives always, 
and sometimes both: the propagation of the Jewish faith and the enhancing of the 
credit and status of Judaism. History was represented by a pseudo-Hecataeus, 
poetry by spurious verses attributed to Orpheus, Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, 


Sophocles, Philemon, Menander. Orpheus was made to recant his polytheism and 
proclaim the one true God: Sophocles to foretell the end of the world by fire and 
the future blessedness of the righteous. All this was merely a forcible entry upon 
the heritage of the Hellenes; the major premiss underlying it was the genuine 
conviction that 


the creed revelation was in fact older and truer than the wisdom and worship of the 
Greeks. The Jewish "forgers" doubtless felt themselves to be merely rewriting 
Greek literature as it ought to have been written." 

A little later the same writer states: 

It was the Jews of Alexandria who were the first after Berosus to adopt and amplify 
the Sibylline oracles for the purpose of their own religion. From about 160 B.C. to 
the end of the first century A.D. they continued to utilize them, nor did they 
entirely cease to do so till two centuries later. But the Sibyllines were destined to 
pass almost entirely out of Jewish hands. They were not retained among the 
apologetic weapons of Rabbinic and Talmudic Judaism; and if this was due in part 
to the deep cleavage which divided Judaism from Hellenism after the revolt of Bar- 
Cochba, it was in large measure due to the whole-hearted adoption of the Sibyl by 
Christian apologists, and the additions made by Christian writers to the Sibylline 
literature ... the Christian retouching of the oracles began at an early date, very 
possibly in the first century A.D.; and in the middle of the second century Celsus 
was able to tax the Church with the deliberate forgery of spurious oracles. ^^ 

A single example of a Christian oracle in the Sibyllines may be quoted in illustration of Bate's 
remarks. In Book V, w. 256-259 occurs the following passage: 

And one chief man shall come again from the sky, who stretched forth his hands 
upon the fruitful tree, the beat of the Hebrew, who once shall stay the sun in its 
course, calling upon it with fair speech and holy lips. 

The last words are a cryptic allusion to Jesus, by reference to Joshua (i.e. Jesus) the son of 

Among the books most popular with the Jews after the war with Rome were the several 
apocalypses written in the names of ancient worthies of Israel, which prophesied the restoration 
of the Jewish people after their sufferings, and judgment on their enemies. These books of 
consolations contained references to the Messiah and the Messianic kingdom, and thus provided 
the finest possible medium for disseminating the Christian doctrine. Such writings as the 
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and t\\Q Apocalypse of Ezra became the subjects of 
interpolation, and it is 


highly probable that the reference to Jesus in Josephus' Antiquities was interpolated or altered by 
Jewish Christian scribes. The extent of this interpolative system may be gathered from the fact 
that by collecting and grouping the Christian references in these writings it is almost possible to 
construct a complete Gospel. The natural result was that the Jews ceased to read their apocalyptic 
books and put them under a ban. A typical example of Christian tampering with the text may be 


given from the Testament of Benjamin. The interpolated passage is enclosed in square brackets. 

Nevertheless, the temple of God shall be in your portion, and the last shall be more 
glorious than the first. And the twelve tribes shall be gathered together there, and 
all salvation in time visitation of the only-begotten prophet [And he shall enter into 
the temple, and there shall the Lord be treated with outrage, and he shall be lifted 
up and the Spirit of God shall pass on to the Gentiles as fire poured forth. And he 
shall ascend from Hades and shall pass from earth into heaven. And I know how 
lowly he shall be upon earth, and how glorious in heaven. 

This form of propaganda was not confined to the extracanonical books. The margins of scrolls 
of the Law and the Prophets were utilized to show the fulfillments of the Scriptures in Jesus. And 
in the case of the Greek versions, prophecies relating to Christ were interpolated by Gentile 
Christians into the sacred text itself; so much so that unenlightened Christians were deceived into 
believing that the Jews had cut them out of the Hebrew copies. 

Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with the Jew Trypho, falls into this error, and as he flourished 
about 160 A.D., the interpolations must have been made almost in the first quarter of the second 
century. He says: 

From the statements, then, which Ezra made in reference to the law of the 
Passover, they (the Jews) have taken away the following: "And Ezra said to the 
people. This Passover is our savior and our refuge. And if you have understood, 
and you have received it in your hearts, that we shall humble him on a standard, 
and thereafter hope in him, then this place shall not be forsaken forever, saith the 
Lord of Hosts. But if you will not believe him, and will not hearken to his words, 
you will be the laughing-stock to 


the nations." 

And from the sayings of Jeremiah they have cutout the following: "I was like a lamb that is 
brought to the slaughter: they devised a device against me, saying. Come let us lay wood on his 
bread, and let us blot him out of the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more."... 
the passage from the saying of Jeremiah is still written in some copies in the synagogues of the 
Jews, for it was only a short time since they were cut out .... And again, from the sayings of the 
same Jeremiah these have been cut out: "The Lord God remembered his dead people of Israel 
who lay in the graves; and He descended to preach to them his own salvation." And from the 
ninety-fifth (ninety- sixth) Psalm they have taken away this short saying of the words of David: 
"From the wood." For when the passage said, 'Tell ye among the nations, the Lord hath reigned 
from the wood," they have left, 'Tell ye among the nations, the Lord hath reigned. "^^ 

Justin was possibly misled by the Testimony Book, which the Christians had compiled, and 
which strung together Biblical passages, with comments, believed to relate to Christ, as Tendel 
Harris has suggested, and which did not always give the source of a quotation, or only that of the 
prophet whose words were used to commence a subject section; so that a wrong ascription of 
authorship could easily be made, or even a Christian comment placed to the credit of an Old 
Testament authority. 

In connection with the foregoing, however, certain passages in the Talmud are full of 


The margins of the books of the Minim (Jewish Sectaries including Jewish 
Christians) they do not save, but these are burnt in their place, they and their 
memorials (the sacred names in the text). R. Jose the Galilean says. On a week-day 
one cuts out the memorials and hides them and burns the rest. R. Tarphon 
exclaimed. May I lose my son! If they come into my hand I would burn them and 
their memorials also. If the pursuer were pursuing me, I would enter into a house of 
idolatry, but I would never enter into their houses; for the idolaters do not 
acknowledge God and speak falsely concerning Him, but these do acknowledge 
Him and speak falsely concerning Him. And concerning them the Scripture saith. 
And behind the door and the doorpost thou hast set thy memorial (Isa. 57:8). R. 
Ishmael said. Whereas in order to make peace between a man and his wife, God 
says, Let my Name which is written in holiness be blotted out 


in water, how much more the books of the Minim, which put enmity and jealousy 
and strife between Israel and their Father in heaven, should be blotted out and their 
memorials also .... R. Meir called in Aven-gilyon.^'^ 

The first expression in the last sentence quoted means "margin of idolatry" and the second 
"margin of iniquity" both are a play on the word Evangelion (Gospel), and possible refer to the 
interpolative system by which the gospel message was introduced into current Jewish literature. 

It must not be thought, however, that interpolations and marginalia were the only means by 
which Jewish Christians brought the teachings of the Messiah before the notice of their 
unconverted brethren. Copies of the Gospel itself were circulated among them. This Gospel 
indeed was not any of the four which became canonical, but the Hebrew Gospel, authorized by 
the Nazarenes, and of which fragments only now remain, and which, writes Eusebius, "they of 
the Hebrews that have received Christ love beyond any other" and in fact, "they took small 
account of the rest."^^ The original manuscript of this Gospel was believed to have been 
preserved in the library of Pamphilus at Caesarea, and Jerome claimed to have translated it into 
Greek and Latin at the end of the fourth century; it seems to have been known in Europe down at 
least to the tenth century. A reference in the Talmud, tractate Shabbat, and another in Justin's 
Dialogue, show that this Gospel was well-known among the Jews in the first quarter of the 
second century. In the former source a saying from the Evangelion is quoted: "I am not come to 
take away from the Law of Moses, neither am I come to add to the Law of Moses. "'^ In the latter, 
Trypho the Jew tells Justin, "I am aware that your precepts in the so-called Evangelion are so 
wonderful and so great, that I suspect no one can keep them; for I have carefully read them: 
Trypho' s words might have been echoed by many a Jew of his time. 

The activities of Jewish Christians among their people were not limited to literary work; they 
engaged in disputations with the rabbis, sometimes quoted in the Talmud, and it is noted that R. 
Eliezer was greatly pleased with an otherwise unknown saying of Jesus quoted to him by a 
certain Jewish Christian called Jacob of Kefar-Sechanaya. But above all, they carried on their 
Master's ministry of healing, and their services in this connection were so effective, and 
therefore in demand, that the rabbis tried to put a stop to them. As it was not always politic to use 
the name of Jesus openly in these ministrations, they used to quote the text in Exodus 



15:23. "I am the Lord that healeth thee," which by numerology is equivalent to the name Jesus in 
Hebrew. R. Akiba, therefore, a great opponent of Christianity, declared that "whoever uses this 
verse as a charm has no share in the life to come." 

Thus, at home and abroad, Jewish Christianity was active in spreading the glad tidings by 
every available channel, among rude savages and learned theologians, among Jews and Greeks, 
Barbarians, Scythians, bond and free. 



Several references to the Talmud have been made in illustration of Jewish Christian activities, 
and as the Jewish literature generally is so little known and hardly ever utilized as a source for 
Christian history, some further references and comments may not be out of place. The nature of 
the material is very diverse, theology, healing and magical practices, and even humorous 
repartee, all find their place in this ancient literature. Not all the allusions to Minim and Minut 
(heretics and their heresies) are directed against Jewish Christians, but those which will be 
quoted, we believe, are so. The most complete collection of extracts with English translations is 
contained in Travers Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, a work which is now, 
unfortunately, out of print. 

Rabbi Eliezer is suspected of leanings to Christianity 

The case of R. Eliezer (c. 100 A.D.), who was arrested for heresy, and they brought 
him to the tribunal (bema) for judgment. The (Roman) governor said to him. Does 
an old man like you occupy himself with such matters? He replied. Faithful is the 
judge concerning me. The governor supposed that he referred to himself, but he 
was really thinking of his Father in heaven. Said the governor to him. Since you 
place yourself confidently in my hands, so let it be. Perhaps these societies en- 
concerning these things. Dimissus! Behold, you are released. 

When he had been freed from the tribunal, he was troubled because he had been 
arrested for heresy. His disciples came in to console him, but he would not take 
comfort. R. Akiba entered, and said to him. Rabbi, perhaps I can explain the cause 
of your grief He answered. Say on. He said to him. Possibly, 


one of the heretics spoke a heretical saying to you, and it pleased you. He said. By heaven, 
you have reminded me! Once I was walking along the upper street of Sephoris, and I met 
Jacob of the village of Sichnin, and he quoted a heretical saying to me in the name of Jesus, 
and it pleased me" 

A variant of the story gives a teaching of Jesus about purity in the temple. This passages is of 
the utmost importance to Christian antiquities. It offers strong corroborative evidence of the 
persecution instigated against the Christians in the early part of the reign of Trajan (98-1 17 
A.D.), to which Simon the son of Cleophas, president of the Nazarenes, eventually fell a victim, 
and which prompted the famous letter of Pliny the Younger to the emperor while Governor of 
Bithynia. Eliezer was known to have associated with the Nazarenes in Galilee, and as the story 
shows, he afterwards recollected a conversation with a certain Jacob (James), evidently a well- 
known Jewish Christian, who is mentioned elsewhere in the Talmud. As the rabbi is described as 


an old man, and his memory was at fault, his contact with the Nazarenes probably took place 
many years previously which would carry our external knowledge of Jewish Christianity back to 
about A.D. 80. 

The Temptation of a Christian "Philosopher " 

Imma Shalom was the wife of R. Eliezer, and sister of Rabbam Gamaliel. There 
resided in her neighborhood a "philosopher" who had a reputation for never taking 
a bribe. She and her brother sought to show him up. She sent to him a lamp of gold. 
They then brought a case before him. Said she to him, I wish the property of the 
women's house to be divided with me. He said to them. Divide it. They said to him. 
But for us is written, "Where there is a son, a daughter does not inherit." He said to 
them, from the day you were exiled from your land, the Law of Moses is invalid 
and the Law of the Gospel has been substituted, and in that it is written, "A son and 
a daughter shall inherit alike." 

The next day he (R. Gamaliel), in his turn, sent a gift to him of a Lybian ass. He 
(the philosopher) said to them, I have looked further to the end of the book, and in 
it is written, "I am not come to take away from the Law of Moses, and I am not 
come to add to the Law of Moses," and in the latter is certainly written, 


"Where there is a son, a daughter does not inherit." She said to him (meaningly). 
Let your light shine as a lamp. R. Gamahiel said to her. The ass has come and 
trodden out the lamp.™ 

The story dates from about 80 A.D., and the R. Eliezer, the husband of Imma Shalom, is the 
same as in the previous extract. Here we have a very valuable witness to the Jewish Christian 
Gospel, traditionally compiled by Matthew. The Christian "philosopher" is probably a Gentile, 
who had become a convert to a broad form of Nazarenism, or perhaps one like Justin Martyr, 
who continued to wear his philosopher's robe after his conversion, and was well acquainted with 
the Jewish Christians and used their Gospel in a Greek translation. It may have been the second 
section devoted to miracles and doctrines described in the. Acts of Barnabas, which the Christian 
was using as his authority. The first quotation from it about the Law of Inheritance is otherwise 
unknown, but may rest on a saying of Jesus which served as a basis for the community of goods 
practised by the primitive communities. The second quotation, however, is very close to 
Matthew 5:17. The lady's hint, "Let your light shine as a lamp," is also very near to Matthew 
5:16. But what are we to make of the sneer "The ass has come and trodden out the lamp"? There 
is clearly more in it than a triumphant indication that the philosopher was corrupt after all. For 
elucidation of the expression we have to turn to the statement of Justin Martyr that the Jews, 
"sent out chosen men through all the land to tell that the godless heresy of the Christians had 
sprung up, and to publish those things which all they who knew us not speak against us."™ 
Among the slanders put forth one concerned the association of Jesus with the ass on which he 
had ridden into Jerusalem. A Midrash speaks of, "the ass of that wicked one." This the Greeks 
linked up with an old anti-semitic libel of the Alexandrian rhetoricians, and concluded that the 
Christians indulged in ass-worship. "Like many others," TertuUian addresses the Greeks, "you 
have dreamed that an ass's head is our god ... he is depicted with the ears of an ass, and with one 


of his feet hoofed, holding in his hands a book, and clothed in a toga."**" Here we have the 
Christian lampooned as an ass-headed philosopher with the Gospel in his hand, an illuminating 


commentary on our passage. But there is more to it: to Jewish malice is attributed the slander that 
the Christians held promiscuous intercourse in their secret assemblies, and which brought against 
them the charge of viciousness. Justin Martyr alludes to "those fabulous and shameful deeds, the 
upsetting of the lamp, and promiscuous intercourse and eating of human flesh."*' R. Gamaliel's 
final word is thus a summing up of the whole situation, as much as to say, "You see, how utterly 
corrupt these Christians are." 

The Nazarenes practice healing in the Name of Jesus 

A man shall have no dealings with the heretics, nor be cured by them, even for the 
sake of an hour of life. There was the case of ben Dama, nephew of R. Ishmael, 
whom a serpent bit. There came Jacob, the heretic of the village of Sechanya to 
cure him, (in the name of Jesus); but R. Ishmael would not allow him. Ben Dama 
said to him, R. Ishmael, my brother, do allow him, that I may be cured, and I will 
produce a text from the Law to prove that this is permitted. But hardly had he 
finished his discourse, when his soul departed, and he died.**^ 

The grandson of R. Joshua b. Levi had something stuck in his throat. There came a 
man and whispered to him in the name of Jesus, and he recovered. When the healer 
came out, R. Joshua said to him, What was it you whispered to him? He said to 
him, A certain word. He said to him. It had been better for him that he had died 
rather than that. '^^ 

R. Akiba said. He who reads in external books, and he who whispers over a wound, and says, 
"None of the diseases which I sent on Egypt will I lay on thee, I am the Lord thy Healer" (Ex. 
15:26), has any share in the world to come.'*'* 

These quotations confirm the evidence that we have from other sources that the Jewish 
Christians practised healing in the name of Jesus. In view of the first extract it is interesting to 
note in the longer ending to Mark's Gospel, that "these signs shall follow them that believe; in 
my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up 
serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hint them; they shall lay hands on the 
sick, and they shall recover."**^ Epiphanius informs us that he was told by the Jewish Christian 
Joseph that before his conversion, 


when lying dangerously ill, one of the elders, a student of the Law, whispered in his ear, 
"Believe that Jesus the son of God was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and that he will come 
again to judge the living and the dead." This kind of thing was of frequent occurrence, writes the 
Bishop of Constantia, and mentions another Jew, who told him that once when on the point of 
death, he heard a whisper in his ear from one of those who stood by, that "Jesus Christ who was 
crucified, the son of God, will hereafter judge thee. '"^^ By means of their healing art, the Jewish 
Christians were thus able openly or secretly to reach and influence their brethren. McNeile has 
well explained R. Akiba' s condemnation of those who whisper Ex. 15:26, over wounds. The last 
words, "I am the Lord that healeth thee," have the numerical value of the name Jesus, and would 
be used by crypto-Christians as a substitute, when they dared not pronounce the name of Jesus 



The Nazarene Day 

On the eve of the Sabbath they did not fast our of respect to the Sabbath; still less 
did they do so on the Sabbath itself Why did they not fast on the day after the 
Sabbath? R. Johanan says, Because of the Nazarenes.*^ 

The Nazarenes worse than Gentiles 

Gentiles, and those that keep small cattle and those that breed the same (i.e. Jewish 
farmers of forbidden animals), are neither helped out (of a pit) nor cast into it. The 
heretics and the apostates and the informers are cast in and not helped out.**' 

This passage is a relic of the Hadrianic persecutions. The Nazarenes had become a menace to 
the consolidation of Judaism in those critical times. Their militant Messianism and condemnation 
of the Oral Law struck at the very foundations of the faith which the rabbis were reformulating. 
They are classed with the apostates and informers who had sold themselves to Rome, and who 
did not scruple to betray their brethren who continued to practise their customs contrary to the 
imperial edicts. It is only fair to say, however, that the Nazarenes suffered equally in this respect. 

R. Abahu and a Jewish Christian 

A certain heretic, whose name was Sason (joy), said to R. 


Abahu, You will draw water for me in the world to come, for it is written (Is. 12:3), 
With joy shall ye draw water from the well of salvation. Abahu said to him. If it 
were written /or joy, it would be as you say: but it is written with joy; we shall 
therefore make a waterskin of your hide, and draw water with that.^° 

2. Longer Fragments of the Gospel of the Hebrews 

It would occupy far too much space to enter into a discussion concerning the date and 
authorship of the Gospel of the Hebrews, and the several texts which evidently went under that 
name. Here it will suffice to say that the surviving fragments have come down to us mainly from 
the quotations preserved in the writings of Jerome and Epiphanius, and as indicating Jewish 
Christian tradition regarding the life and teaching of the Messiah, extracts may be given under 
the headings of Hieronomian and Epiphanian texts respectively.'' 

Hieronomian Text 

Behold, the mother of the Lord and his brethren said unto him: John the Baptist baptizeth unto 
the remission of sins; let us go and be baptized of him. But he said unto them: wherein have I 
sinned, that I should go and be baptized of him? unless, peradventure, this very thing that I have 
said is (a sin) of ignorance.'^ 

And it came to pass when the Lord was come up out of the water, the whole fount of the Holy 
spirit descended and rested upon him, and said unto him: My son, in all the prophets was I 


waiting for thee that thou shouldst come, and I might rest in thee. For thou art my rest, thou art 
my first begotten son, that reignest forever.^^ 

If thy brother (saith he — Jesus)'''* have sinned by a word and made thee amends, seven times 
in a day receive thou him. Simon, his disciple said unto him: Seven times in a day? the Lord 
answered and said unto him: 

Yea, I say unto thee, unto seventy times seven times. For in the prophets also, after they were 
anointed by the Holy spirit, the word of sin was found. 

The second of the rich men said unto him: Master, what good thing can I do and live? He said 
unto him: O man, perform the law and the prophets. He answered him: I have kept them. He said 
unto him: Go, sell all that thou ownest, and distribute it to the poor, and come, follow me. But 
the rich man began to scratch his head, and it pleased him not. 


And the Lord said unto him: How sayest thou, I have kept the law and the prophets? For it is 
written in the law: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, and lo, many of thy brethren, sons of 
Abraham, are clad in filth, dying for hunger, and thine house is full of many good things, and 
nought at all goeth out of it unto them. And he turned and said unto Simon his disciple, who was 
sitting by him: Simon, son of Joanna, it is easier for a camel to enter in by a needle's eye, than 
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.'"' 

Now the Lord, when he had given the linen cloth unto the servant of the priest, went unto 
James and appeared to him (for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour 
wherein he had drunk the Lord's cup until he should see him risen again from among them that 
sleep) .... Bring ye, saith the Lord, a table and bread. And he took bread and blessed and brake 
and gave unto James the Just, and said unto him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the son of Man is 
risen from among them that sleep. ''^ 

And when he (Jesus) came to Peter and those who were with Peter, he said to them: Lo, feel 
me and see that I am not a bodiless spirit. And forthwith they touched him and believed.'^ 

Epiphanian Texf^ 

It came to pass in the days of Herod the king of Judaea, when Caiaphas was high priest, that 
there came a certain man John, by name, baptizing with the baptism of repentance in the river 
Jordan, who was said to be of the lineage of Aaron the priest, child of Zacharias and Elizabeth, 
and all went out unto him. 

John was baptizing, and there went out unto him Pharisees and were baptized, and all 
Jerusalem. And John had raiment of camel's hair and a leathern girdle about his loins: and his 
meat was wild honey, whereof the taste is of manna, as a cake dipped in oil. 

After the people were baptized, Jesus also came and was baptized by John; and as he came up 
from the water, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Holy spirit in the likeness of a dove 
that descended and entered into him: and a voice from heaven saying: Thou art my beloved Son, 
in thee I am well pleased: and again: This day have I begotten thee. And straight-way there shone 
about the place a great light, which, when John saw it he saith unto him: Who art thou. Lord? 
And again there was a voice from heaven, saying unto him: this is my beloved son in whom lam 
well pleased. And then John fell down before him and said: I beseech thee. Lord, baptize 



thou me. But he prevented him, saying: Suffer it; for thus it behoveth that all things should be 

There was a certain man named Jesus, and he was about thirty years old, who chose us. And 
coming into Capernaum he entered into the house of Simon who was surnamed Peter, and 
opened his mouth and said: as I passed by the lake of Tiberias, I chose John and James, the sons 
of Zebedee, and Simon and Andrew and Thaddaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the Iscariot 
and thee, Matthew, as thou satest at the receipt of custom I called, and thou followedst me. You, 
therefore, I will to be twelve apostles for a testimony unto Israel. 



Chapter VII 


The records of Jewish Christianity towards the end of the second century and dining the third 
do not indicate any improvement in the relations with Gentile Christianity. With both sides it was 
a period of hardening, of crystallization. The Gentile Church, or, as we may now call it, the 
Catholic Church, had canonized the four Gospels now contained in the New Testament, while 
the Nazarene Church as stoutly clung to their own Hebrew Gospel. All the traditions of the 
elders and the reminiscences of those who had heard them had been gathered up, and the 
beginnings of a definite dogmatic statement of faith were in evidence. In the Jewish world, also, 
the same process was going on. The rulings of the earlier rabbinical authorities were brought 
together in the collection known as the Mishna (repetition) with the Tosephta (additions), and all 
parties tended to become more rigid and less open to a friendly exchange of opinions. 
Controversy continued, but it was on a lower plane, and cruel and bitter reproaches were 
frequently exchanged. The Catholic fathers wrote treatises Against the Jews and compiled unfair 
Testimonia from the Old Testament in support of the rejection of the Jewish people and in proof 
that the Church was the new Israel: they also upbraided the Jewish Christians with the poverty of 
their Christianity and their continued adherence to Jewish customs. The Jews retorted on their 
opponents by inventing or elaborating slanderous stories about Jesus, which supplied useful 
weapons of offence to such noted pagan polemical writers as Celsus. The Nazarenes in their turn 
were denouncing the apostasy of the Catholics, and vilifying Paul, saying that he was a Greek 
who had turned Jew in hope of marrying the high priest's daughter; but because his suit was 
rejected, he wrote against the Sabbath and Circumcision.^^ 

Naturally, the more numerous passages-at-arms were between the Nazarenes and the 
Rabbinists, and we are fortunate in having preserved to us a number of these things in the 
Talmud and Midrashim on the one hand, and Jerome's writings on the other. The Scriptures were 
ransacked by both faiths for suitable weapons, and the following quotations may be taken as 
representative of their polemical exegesis. 

The Rabbinists 

"I will render vengeance to mine adversaries" (Dt. 32:41), 


these are the Cuthin (Samaritans) ...." and "I will recompense them that hate me," these are 
the minim (Nazarenes); and thus God saith (Ps. 139:21-22) "Do I not hate them which hate 
thee, O Lord? I hate them with a perfect hatred; they have become mine enemies. ""'°° 

Everywhere that "hypocrisy" occurs in a verse, the Scripture speaks of minuth 
(Nazarenism); and the common element in them all is indicated by Isaiah 33 : 14, "The sinners 
in Zion are afraid; trembling hath seized the hypocrites.'""' 

The Nazarenes 

"And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto 
wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living 


should they consult the dead?" (Isaiah 8:19). The Nazarenes explain this passage as follows: 
When the Scribes and Pharisees say that you should hearken unto them, who do everything 
for their belly's sake, and who mutter in their incantations after the fashion of wizards in 
order to deceive you, answer them thus: Is it no marvel that you follow your traditions; every 
nation consults its own idols. We, therefore, need not consult your dead about the living 
things for God has given us a magic of our own, the Law and Testimony of Scripture, which 
if you follow not you will never have the light, but the darkness will always oppress you as it 
passes over your land and your doctrine; as also those who are deceived by you will see 
themselves in error, suffering a hunger for the truth. Then shall they fret themselves and be 
angry and curse you, whom they thought of as gods and kings. And they shall look towards 
heaven and earth in vain, and shall abide in darkness and be unable to escape from your 

"That watch for iniquity .... that make a man an offender for a word" (Is. 39:20-21). The 
Nazarenes testify against the Scribes and Pharisees, wherein they fail through their Mishna, 
who first deluded the people through their very bad traditions: they watched day and night in 
order to deceive the simple, and caused men to sin through (Misrepresenting) the word of 
God, so that they should deny the Messiah.'"^ 

Jerome gives several further extracts from what was evidently a Naza- 


rene Targum on the Prophets, now unfortunately lost, which those who are interested may see in 
their place. But we may note in connection with what has been said above in Chapter 6 about the 
rabbinical play on the word Evangelion, that the Nazarenes also were not averse to punning at 
the expense of their opponents; Hillel and Shammai, the founders of the two famous Jewish 
schools of thought, they designated as Hillul (profane) and Shammah (devastator), because these 
in their opinion had profaned the word of God, and made it of none effect. 

But in spite of a certain acrimoniousness in debate, the impression made by the Jewish 
Christians on their own nation was very profound. The influence of the Hebrew Gospel, 
especially, was difficult to resist, copies of it even finding their way into the Jewish archives at 
the patriarchal center of Tiberias, together with the Nazarenes Acts of the Apostles, a different 
document to the canonical Acts, and the HQhrom Apocalypse ofJohn}^^ In an attempt to discredit 
this important witness, as the writer has elsewhere shown, the rabbis published a parody, the 
Toledot Yeshu (the generations of Jesus), which took its title, as was customary in Jewish usage, 
from the opening words of the Hebrew Gospel.'"^ This work satirizing the Gospel narrative, and 
partly based on independent tradition, has bee a thorn in the side of the Jewish people ever since 
its composition. Secretly transcribed again and again down to modern times, embellished with 
fanciful details which held up Jesus and his followers to ridicule, it encouraged the Jews to resist 
the fiery persecutions of the Catholic Church, while at the same time the knowledge of its 
existence only added fuel to the flames of fury that assailed them. Better for thousands of 
martyred Hebrews if it had never been written. 

Of the conduct of Jewish Christian affairs from 135 AD, until the conquest of Palestine by the 
Mohammedans in the seventh century, we have no means of knowing. Who were their patriarchs 
and great men? History is silent. We learn from Epiphanius that they had numerous communities 


scattered throughout Coele-Syria, the Hauran, Batanea, the DecapoHs, and even as far east as 
Mesopotamia.'"'^ The east Jordan land seems, indeed, to have been their special territory ever 
since the destruction of Jerusalem. Epiphanius is also witness that the Nazarenes continued to 
have synagogues and elders, exactly like the Jews,'°^ with whose rites their own remained closely 
akin, and the Talmud refers to their 


places of worship as Beth Nizraphi, a term of etymology. There is evidence that their 
performance of circumcision and the weekly fasts were on different days than was the custom 
among the rabbinists. This was a result of the growing religious antagonism which ousted them 
from the Synagogue and brought them in the end to repudiate even the name of Jew. Their 
communities subsisted frugally by agricultural labor, and they lived in daily expectation of the 
return of the Messiah to restore the kingdom to Israel, in which for their constancy they would 
have a ruling part. 

Towards the end of the second century we mark the beginnings of a break in the ranks. Origen 
speaks of "the twofold sect of Ebionites, who either acknowledge with us that Jesus was born of 
a virgin, or deny this, and maintain that he was begotten like other human beings." To a section 
of the Jewish Christians, particularly in Syria, where there was a closer contact with the Catholic 
Church, which had made outcasts of the descendants of the founders of the great churches of 
Antioch and Damascus, the position was intolerable. In consideration of fraternal relations 
extended to them, they were prepared to accept some of the dogmas of the new orthodoxy. 
Certain individual Jewish Christians had already associated themselves with the dominant 
Church, but group action was a new move. The phase was a most important one, for its genesis 
produced at Antioch the Gospel of Matthew as we now have it. 

The phase extended even further. The native Syrian Christians were willing to allow the 
antiquity of the Nazarenes, and to accept the fact that they possessed genuine independent 
traditions regarding the life of Christ, which they were avid to learn and utilize. The imparting of 
this information, chiefly concerning the childhood of Jesus and certain incidents connected with 
his crucifixion and post-resurrection appearances, led to a whole literature of Infancy and other 
sectional Gospel narratives, claiming authority from original Hebrew sources, which continued 
to be multiplied and elaborated for centuries. For one instance among many, the prologue to the 
Gospel ofNicodemus has it: 

I Ananias, etc., found these memorials written in Hebrew, and by the favor of God have 
translated them into Greek of the information of all who call upon the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

One wonders in reading some al these texts whether the Nazarenes had not been practising a 
little edifying leg-pulling at the expense of the 


credulous Syrians. Traces, however, of valuable historical facts do remain in the old syriac 
Gospels and sacred literature of the Eastern Church, which otherwise would have been 
irretrievably lost. 

The lapse from the true faith of some of their number was bound to react on the rest of the 
Nazarene communities, who became in consequence more rigid and exclusive, and in a short 
time completely lost touch with the great body of believers, finding consolation instead with 


contacting other bodies of Jewish sectaries who had made their abode in the regions which they 
inhabited. The resultant medley of beliefs will have to be considered in a later chapter. Three 
legacies, at least, they left to the Syriac and Greek-speaking churches before they withdrew into 
the background of Christian affairs, the Clementine Romances, the Odes of Solomon, and the 
Greek translation of the Old Testament by Symmachus. 

The Clementine Romances, the Homilies and Recognitions, take as their basis the history of 
Clement, a Roman convert to Jewish Christianity, and how he became reunited to his parents and 
brothers from whom he had been separated by an ill fate. He becomes attached to Peter, and 
follows him in his pursuit of arid disputations with the arch-enemy, Simon Magus. Opportunity 
is given in the numerous discussions and dialogues of the narrative to restate the true faith in 
opposition to Greek and other heresies put into the mouth of Simon, who sometimes bears a 
strange likeness to the apostle Paul. Other works have also been drawn upon by the compiler, 
including the ancient Preaching of Peter and the Ascents of James. The teaching is definitely 
Jewish Christian, and the Gospel references introduce a number of uncanonical sayings and 

The Odes of Solomon, discovered in a Syriac text by Dr. J. Rendel Harris, consist of a 
collection of forty-two hymns. There has been much scholarly controversy over their authorship, 
but the writer from a close study considers that there is conclusive evidence that the collection 
represents a part, at least, of the Nazarene hymn-book. As such the work is of enormous 
importance, first because it reveals the elevated character of Jewish Christian theology, and 
makes plain many obscurities relating to their beliefs and traditions, and second, because a 
Church with a hymnary is a living church, and not a moribund institution as many would 
suppose Nazarenism in the third century to have been. Two of the Odes are reproduced here 
from Dr. Harris' translation; in the second it is the Messiah who is speaking. 

Ode 6 

As the hand moves over the harp, and the string speak, so speaks in my members 
the Spirit of the Lord, and I speak by His love. For it destroys what is foreign, and 
everything that is bitter: for thus it was from the beginning and will be to the end, 
that nothing should be his adversary, and nothing should stand up against Him. The 
Lord has multiplied the knowledge of Himself, and is zealous that these things 
should be known, which by His grace have been given to us. And the praise of His 
name He gave us: our spirits praise His Holy Spirit. For there went forth a stream 
and became a river great and broad; for it flooded and broke up everj^hing and it 
brought water to the Temple: and the restrainers of the children of men were not 
able to restrain it, nor the arts of those whose business it is to restrain waters; for it 
spread over the face of the whole earth, and filled everything: and all the thirsty 
upon earth were given to drink of it; and thirst was relieved and quenched: for from 
the Most High the draught was given. Blessed then are the ministers of that draught 
who are entrusted with that water of His: they have assuaged the dry lips, and the 
will that had fainted they have raised up; and souls that were near departing they 
have caught back from death: and limbs that had fallen they straightened and set 
up: they gave strength for their feebleness and light to their eyes: for everyone 
knew them in the Lord, and they lived by the water of life forever. Hallelujah 



Ode 36 

I rested on the Spirit of the Lord: and the Spirit raised me on high: and made me 
stand on my feet in the height of the Lord, before His perfection and His glory, 
while I was praising Him by the composition of His songs. The Spirit brought me 
forth before the face of the Lord: and although a son of man, I was named the 
Illuminate, the son of God: while I praised among the praising ones, and great was I 
amongst the mighty ones. For according to the greatness of the Most High, so He 
made me: and like His own newness He renewed me; and He anointed me from His 
own perfection: and I became one of his neighbors; and my mouth was opened, like 
a cloud of dew; and my heart poured out as it were a gushing stream of 
righteousness, and my access to Him was in peace: and I was established by the 
spirit of His 


government. Hallelujah 

In the second of these two hymns, the Nazarene belief of the acquired divine attributes of the 
Messiah, who was born a man amongst men, is clearly seen. He was anointed by God with the 
Holy Spirit and with Power: one Nazarene reference rather beautifully puts it that the anointing 
was with oil taken from the Tree of Life. 

Symmachus appears to have been, like Clement, a convert lo Jewish Christianity, and may 
have been of Samaritan origin. He flourished towards the end of the second century. His object 
in undertaking a new translation of the Old Testament is believed to have been to provide a 
rendering in idiomatic Greek, free from semitisms. His version was one of those embodied by 
Origen in his Hexapla, and its influence still remains, as it was largely made use of by Jerome in 
his revision of the Latin Bible. Eusebius mentions that in his own day (fourth century) there were 
Commentaries of Symmachus still extant, in which it would seem that he criticized the Greek 
version of Matthew's Gospel, which had lately been accepted by the Gentile Church. 

Undoubtedly, the most outstanding name among Jewish Christians of this period was 
Hegesippus, often called the first ecclesiastical historian. Born in Palestine about 140 A.D., he 
kept closely in touch with all sections of the Church, though he himself held to the Nazarene 
faith. He travelled widely throughout the west, and came to Rome during the bishopric of 
Anicetus. Subsequently, he wrote h\s Memoirs, in five books, now unfortunately lost. But 
fragments have been preserved chiefly in Eusebius' quotations, and many of them have already 
been drawn upon in this history. They show him to have been a sedulous collector of traditions 
regarding the lives of the apostles and those related to them, and it is to him that we owe much of 
our knowledge of primitive Christian history. He is reported by Eusebius to have quoted largely 
from the Gospel of the Hebrews, which to him, as to his co-religionists, was the final authority 
on the life and teaching of Jesus. He is also said to have stated that certain books of the 
Apocrypha had been forged during his own lifetime. '"'^ He was evidently a liberal minded man 
ever ready to note the best in the life of his fellow Christians, and this chapter may fittingly close 
with the only autobiographical fragment of his work which has survived. 

The Corinthian Church has continued in the true faith until 



Primus, now Bishop of Corinth. I conversed with him on my voyage to Rome, and 
stayed many days with the Corinthians, during which time we were refreshed 
together with true doctrine. Arrived in Rome, I composed the succession (of 
bishops) until Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. After Anicetus succeeded 
Soter, and afterwards Eleutherus. But with every succession, and in every city, that 
prevails which the Law and the Prophets and the Lord enjoin. '°' 



Chapter VIII 


The fourth century dawned full of promise for the Christian faith. "And now a bright and 
splendid day," writes Eusebius, "with no overshadowing cloud, irradiated the churches in the 
whole world with its celestial light.""" The miracle had happened. The Emperor Constantine had 
submitted to the grace of baptism. But for those who still clung to the observances of the Law of 
Moses, whether Nazarene of Pharisee, that day was one of darkness and gloom. The era of 
persecution by Pagan Romans was passing away, only to be succeeded by the more terrible and 
prolonged persecutions by Christian Romans. Incited thereto by a vengeful and fanatical clergy, 
drunk with liberty and power. Constantine commenced to pursue a policy of cruel restriction 
against the Jews, embodied in a series of edicts, which the populace were not slow to construe as 
a policy bordering on extirpation. 

We desire to have nothing in common with this so hated people, for the Redeemer has 
marked out another path for us. To this we will keep, and be free from disgraceful 
association with this people. 

So ran the imperial will. Massacres became frequent, and burning synagogues a Christian 

Under these conditions, Palestine gradually lost its Jewish population, which took refuge 
further east in Persia and Mesopotamia where there was a better prospect of enjoying freedom of 
conscience. The rabbinical colleges at Sura and Pumbedith took over authority from those of 
Tiberias and Sephoris. and abandoned synagogues were rededicated to Christian worship. The 
name of Nazarene, formerly honored by every follower of the Man of Nazareth, was now wholly 
discarded by the Catholic Church, and reserved exclusively for the "heresy" of the faith which he 
had founded. A few of the Fathers there were, like Jerome, who still gave credit to the ancient 
testimony of the Jewish Christians. He associated with them in Beroea (Aleppo), and translated 
their Hebrew Gospel into Greek and Latin, suffering the accusation of, "having forged a fifth 
Gospel." It is in large part due to his writings that we owe our slender knowledge of the 
Nazarene opinions. 

In the west, at this time, we mark the beginning of a new phase, which after the virtual 
disruption of the Nazarene Ebionite communities was to 


carry on the torch of Jewish Christianity through a succession of individual converts to the 
Catholic faith until their organization should at length be reconstituted. 

The scene is Rome, and the occasion a disputation held before Constantine and the saintly 
Queen Helena between the Jews and Christians. Argument had failed to be convincing to either 
side, and at length, so runs the legend, the Jews had recourse to magic. They commanded an ox 
to be fetched, and the ineffable Name of God being whispered into its ear by Sambres, the 
Jewish leader, it at once fell dead at the emperor's feet. The Jews were triumphant; but the 
famous wonder-working Pope Sylvester was a match for them. Would the Jews believe if the ox 
came to life again at the name of Jesus? They would. Sylvester raised his eyes to heaven, and 
with a loud voice cried: "If He be the true God whom I preach, in the name of Christ, arise, O ox. 


and stand upon thy feet!" The ox sprang to life, and began to move and feed. The astounded Jews 
gave in and were all baptized. 

We have now to consider a new type of Jewish Christian, willing or unwilling convert to 
Catholicism, having no relationship with the old Nazarene groups, and in many cases as bigoted 
and intolerant in their attitude towards them and the Jewish people as were those of Gentile birth. 
Of this new type, two were prominent in the fourth century, Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia, 
and Count Joseph, and the last is our chief informant about the second. 

Epiphanius was born about 303 A.D. in the village of Bezanduca in Palestine. He was of 
Jewish parentage on both sides. His father died when he was very young, and his widowed 
mother was not in good circumstances. A wealthy Jew, a friend of the family, adopted him and 
later married him to his only daughter. Almost immediately, however, he host his wife, and his 
father-in-law dying soon after bequeathed to him his extensive property. While on a visit to some 
of his possessions he was impressed with the charity of a monk whom he met, and resolved to 
become a Christian, an example that was followed by his sister. After a course of instruction, 
both were received into the Catholic Church. 

Epiphanius. in his fervor for his new-found faith, parted with his wealth and became a monk. 
Many legends surround his later life, due to the ethusiasm of his two disciples, John and 
Polybius, but the following facts 


may be regarded as fairly well established. On a visit to Egypt he came into contact with certain 
Christian Gnostics, apparently of antinomian tendencies, from whom he escaped in horror. 
Returned to Palestine, he founded a monastery near his native village. The next few years find 
him engaged in violent controversy with the school of Origen, particularly in the person of John, 
Bishop of Jerusalem. About 368 he was made Bishop of Constantia in Cyprus, where he became 
widely known for his learning. In 382 he was summoned to Rome by the emperor to give his 
opinion in an ecclesiastical dispute. The year 394 found him again in Jerusalem, where he 
betrayed something of his Jewish origin in denouncing the use of images which he found painted 
on a cloth in a Christian church. "Such material," he said, "would be better employed for charity 
than for ceremony." 

Soon after this he retired to Bethlehem, from where he journeyed once more to 
Constantinople in his old age to attend a synod convened to reprimand the famous John 
Chrysostom for sheltering some Egyptian monks expelled for adopting Origen' s views. 
Epiphanius, however, did not wait of the synod to sit, and died at sea on his way back to Cyprus 
at the advanced age of a hundred years. He was a sincere, though somewhat over-zealous and 
imprudent churchman, who followed the orthodoxy of his day with commendable loyalty. It is 
unfortunate that he was out of sympathy with his Nazarene brethren, but this was probably due to 
his early conversion and training in monastic circles. He never appears to have been in direct 
contact with either Nazarenes or Ebionites, whom he castigates unmercifully. He had read the 
Ebionite text of the Gospel in a Greek translation, and his quotations from it preserve what little 
we know of its contents. 

Epiphanius' principal work is his voluminous Panarion, which has been described as an 
encyclopedia of heresies. In it he combats nearly eighty Christian and Jewish sects. The 


Panarion will always remain one of the most valuable possessions of Christianity because of the 
mass of material on primitive Christian beliefs which it contains: many of the traditions recorded 
by Epiphanius have come down to modem times exclusively through his diligence. He also 
wrote a treatise on Biblical Weights and Measures. 

The Bishop of Constantia, as we have said, is our authority for the romantic history of 
another Jewish convert, Count Joseph, called by his former co-religionists, "the Apostate." He 
was a rabbinical student of 


Tiberias, attached to the person of the Jewish Patriarch Hillel II. According to his own account, 
he had witnessed the Patriarch's deathbed confession of faith in Christ. Through the joints of the 
door, he had seen him receive the sacrament from the Bishop of Tiberias, who had attended him 
as physician. After Hillel' s death, Joseph found among his effects, Hebrew texts oi Matthew, 
John and t\\QActs of the apostles, which he read and was strongly convinced of the truth of 
Christianity. He did not, however, make a public confession of his faith. Other circumstances in 
later life increased his conviction, and a severe illness determined him no longer to postpone his 
baptism. On his recovery his fear of the consequences of his act made him still delay openly to 
avow himself a Christian. At this time he was appointed official collector of the patriarchal 
revenues in Cilicia, and he made the acquaintance of a bishop near whose house he was staying. 
The suspicions of the Jews were aroused, and they one day surprised him in the act of reading 
the Gospels. They dragged him to the synagogue, and would have beaten him to death, had not 
the bishop intervened. When he was about to leave the city, another attempt on his life was 
made, and he was thrown into the river Cydnus. Again he escaped, and soon after made a public 
confession of his faith in Jesus. His interesting story came to the ears of Constantine, who made 
him a Comes, or Count, of the Roman Empire. 

Little more of Count Joseph is known, except that the emperor employed him on several 
commissions, and that he devoted his life to building churches in towns which had large Jewish 
populations, at Tiberias, Nazareth and Sephoris (Dio Caesarea). Inscriptions recording his 
foundation still remain. He sheltered some priests fleeing from Arian persecution, and it was 
about this time in his old age that Epiphanius heard this story from his own lips while he was a 
guest in his house. 

Epiphanius tells us in his Panarion of other Jewish converts to Catholicism, but the anti- 
Jewish policy of the Church, which manifested itself ever more strongly from this time onwards, 
must have tended steadily to decrease the numbers of genuine conversions and make the name of 
Jesus to be hated by his own people. Those who did take the step were the objects of bitter 
Jewish persecution, so much so that Constantine decreed death at the stake for those guilty of 
"pursuing with stones and other violence" the baptized Jew. But if the outraged Synagogue could 
not vent its bitter wrath on those who seemed to have gone over to the ranks of its enemies, it 
could and did endeavor to wean from their Christian faith 


newly converted pagans, by pointing out the far-fetched Biblical exegesis of the Church, 
especially in relation to Messianic passages. In order to obtain their evidence at first hand from 
the lips of Christian preachers, Jews were even willing to come to church; so that the Church of 
Jerusalem at a synod had to complain of "Jewish serpents and Samaritan imbeciles listening to 


sermons in church like wolves surrounding the flock of Christ." 

The Catholic Church, with the whole of the Roman Empire given to it, at least in name as a 
Christian territory, and by no means sure of its ground, worked itself up into an acute state of 
hysteria over an imagined Jewish peril. Even to the more enlightened ecclesiastic, the Jew was a 
perverted being laboring mysteriously and mercilessly to restore pagan domination and 
undermine the Church's authority. The few cases where Jews had succeeded in persuading 
pagans of the weakness of the state religion were magnified into an organized effort to overthrow 
the Church. The humor of the situation, if humor it can be called which involves the extreme of 
human passions, was, that to anyone who knows the Jews at all well their greatest and self- 
realized weakness is their inability to co-operate and act in concerted harmony in any major 
policy. Yet, again and again, down to our own day, the scare has been raised of the existence of a 
sinister and secret Jewish world organization with anti-Christian objects, which has served as a 
useful bogey to authority uncertain of its hold on the people. The most casual study of Jewish 
history would show the utter impossibility of any such threat if on no other ground, on the 
ground of inherent Jewish lack of self-co-ordination, which even in modern Palestine, with the 
ideal object of the establishment of a Jewish National Home, has brought such a large measure of 
frustration through disunity and divergent counsels. 

As in twentieth-century Germany under Nazi rule, the fourth-century Church authorities felt 
that isolation of their adherents from Jewish influence was the best policy to adopt, and they set 
to work with zeal to build again the middle wall of partition that had been broken down. East and 
West Church Councils met and promulgated strange decrees which in their terms throw an 
interesting light on the good relations which must have subsisted between many a Christian 
community and its Jewish neighbors. 

The so-caWed Apostalic Canons decreed: 

If an clergyman shall enter into a synagogue of Jews of heretics 


(i.e. Nazarenes) to pray, let him be deposed. If a layman do so, let him be 

If any bishop, presbyter or deacon, or any one of the list of the clergy, keeps fast or 
festival with the Jews, or receives from them any of the gifts of their feasts, as 
unleavened bread, or any such things, let him be deposed. If he be a layman, let him he 
excommuni cated . " ^ 

If any Christian brings oil into a temple of the heathen, or into a synagogue of the Jews, 
or lights lamps, let him be excommunicated."^ 

At Elvira (Elibris) near Granada in Spain, nineteen bishops, thirty-six presbyters, and more 
deacons, met in 324 A.D. to enact, among other matters: 

Landholders are to be admonished not to suffer the fruits which they receive from God 
with the giving of thanks, to be blessed by the Jews, lest our benediction be rendered 
invalid and unprofitable. If anyone shall venture to do so after this interdiction, let him 
altogether be ejected from the Church.""^ 

If any person, whether clerical or one of the faithful, shall take food with the Jews, he 
is to abstain from our communion, that he may learn to amend. "^ 


It is rather surprising to trace as one of the causes of Christian persecution of the Jews, the 
discovery of the real or reputed relics of the Jewish Christian saints and of the Savior himself 
"At that time (i.e. fourth century)," writes the Bishop of Saragossa in 620 A.D., "many things 
came to light which had not been recorded, such as the bandages and the shroud in which the 
body of our Lord was wrapped." The saintly Queen Helena was herself led to the discovery of 
the wood of the true Cross by a Jew, Judas, who is said to have become a Christian. The Jewish 
Rabban Gamaliel, the teacher of St. Paul, is reported to have directed the finding of the relics of 
the martyr Stephan, by appearing in vision to Lucian of Caphargamala. 

These latter relics were destined to play a part in the conversion of the Jews of Minorca, to 
which island they had been brought by Orosius. Severus, Bishop of Minorca, has heft his own 
highly colored account of the incident in a letter, from which we learn that frequent 


disputations took place between the bishop and Rabbi Theodore, head of the Jewish community 
of the little town of Magona. Eventually the bishop led his congregants to the synagogue on a 
fateful Sabbath on the plea that the Jews had stored up arms there. A disturbance resulted in 
which the Christians burnt down the sacred edifice and bore off the scrolls of the Law in 
triumph. Three days later, the Jews gathered together within the ruined walls and their rabbi 
exhorted them in an eloquent address in vindication of the Law to which the Christians listened 
with dismay. At last they raised a shout, "Theodore, believe in Christ!" which the unfortunate 
Jews misunderstood as 'Theodore believes in Christ." and fled in despair from the spot. The 
rabbi yielded to the pleas made to him, and was baptized, and was followed shortly afterwards by 
most of his congregants. The triumphant bishop was convinced of the efficacy of the bones of 
Stephen as directly responsible of the victory, and he points with pride to the mild methods by 
which it was possible to win the Jews to Christ. 

In Crete also where were many conversions, the outcome of the activities of a pseudo- 
Messiah name Moses, who had promised the Jews that like his famous namesake, he would lead 
them dryshod through the sea to the Promised Land. The day of the expected miracle arrived, 
and crowds of the deluded Jews assembled on the shores of the Mediterranean. 'The impostor 
directed them to throw themselves into the water, which many doing were either drowned or 
picked up by Christian vessels. When the rest of the Jews turned to revenge themselves on their 
prophet, Moses had conveniently disappeared. As a result, a number were willing to be 
convinced that in Jesus the true Messiah must have already come, and consented to be baptized. 

From this time, however, until the modern period, the approach to the Jews in Europe was 
less by reason and charity and more by compulsion, intimidation and active violence. Their 
continued existence outside the pale of the Church was thought of as an insult to the Savior, 
which must be wiped out by the waters of baptism or their own blood. "'^ 


Some Profession of Faith Required of Jewish Converts"^ 
From the Church of Constantinople^^^ 
As a preliminary to his acceptance as a catechumen, a Jew "must confess 



and denounce verbally, the whole Hebrew people, forthwith declare that with a whole heart and 
sincere faith he desires to be received among the Christians. Then he must renounce openly in 
the church all Jewish superstition, the priest saying, and he, or his sponsor if he is a child, 
replying in these words: 

"I renounce all customs, rites, legalisms, unleavened breads and sacrifice of lambs of the 
Hebrews, and all the other feasts of the Hebrews, sacrifices, prayers, aspersions, purifications, 
sanctifications, and propitiations, and fasts, and new moons, and Sabbaths, and superstitions, and 
hymns and chants and observances and synagogues, and the food and drink of the Hebrew; in 
one word, I renounce absolutely everything Jewish, every law, rite and custom, and above all I 
renounce Antichrist, whom all the Jews await in the figure and form of Christ; and I join myself 
to the true Christ and God. and I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy. 
Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity, and the dispensation in the flesh and the descent to men 
of the Word of God, of the one person of the Holy Trinity, and I confess that he was truly made 
man, and I believe and proclaim that after the flesh in very truth, the Blessed Virgin Mary bore 
him, the Son of God; and I believe in, receive, venerate and embrace the adorable Cross of 
Christ, and the holy images: and thus, with my whole heart, and soul, and with a true faith I 
come to the Christian Faith. But if it be with deceit and hypocrisy, and not with a sincere and 
perfect faith and a genuine love of Christ, but with a pretence to be a Christian that I come, and if 
afterwards I shall wish to deny and return to Jewish superstition, or shall be found eating with 
Jews, or feasting with them, or secretly conversing and condemning the Christian religion 
instead of openly confuting them and condemning their vain faith, then let tine trembling of Cain 
and the leprosy of Gehazi cleave to me, as well as the legal punishments to which I acknowledge 
myself liable. And may I be anathema in the world to come, and may my soul be set down with 
Satan and the devils." 

Of Uncertain Eastern Origin, attached to the Clementine Recognitions 

"It is my desire today to come from the Hebrew to the Christian faith. I have not been 
brought by any force, necessity, fear, annoyance or poverty; nor because of a debt, or of an 
accusation lodged against me; nor for the sake of worldly honors, of advantages, of money or 
property which has been promised me by anyone; nor for the sake of its useful consequences, 


nor to obtain human patronage; nor because of any quarrel or dispute which I have had with 
people of my own religion; nor for secret purposes of revenge on the Christians, by a feigned 
admiration for their law, nor because I have been wronged by them: but I have been brought by a 
wholehearted love of Christ and of faith in Him. 

I renounce the whole worship of the Hebrew, circumcision, all its legalisms, unleavened 
bread, Passover, the sacrificing of lambs, the feasts of Weeks, Jubilees, Trumpets, Atonement, 
Tabernacles, and all the other Hebrew feasts, their sacrifices, prayers, aspersions, purifications, 
expiations, fasts. Sabbaths, new moons, foods and drinks. And I absolutely renounce every 
custom and institution of the Jewish laws. 

Moreover, I place under anathema the heresies among the Jews, and the heretics themselves. 
I anathematize the Sadducees, who are called just, who blaspheme the Holy Spirit, who attack 


the resurrection of the dead, and deny the existence of angels. I anathematize the Pharisees, the 
separate ones, who fast on the second and fifth days, who pretend to sexual abstinence at definite 
times, and afterwards despise all continence, who foretell the future, and waste their time on 
astrology. I anathematize the Nazarenes, the stubborn ones, who deny that the laws of sacrifices 
was given by Moses, who abstain from eating living things, and who never offer sacrifice: I 
anathematize the Osseans, the blindest of all men, who use other scriptures that the Law, and 
reject most of the prophets, and who boast in a man as master, one Elzai, that is 'the hidden 
virtue,' and who worship, as Gods, two women of his offspring. Marthonis and Marthana: I 
anathematize the Herodians, who worship as Christ a foreign king of the Jews, Herod, who was 
eaten of worms. I anathematize the Hemerobaptists, who believe as do the Pharisees, but also 
teach that a man cannot be saved without daily washing. I anathematize the scribes, or doctors of 
the Law, who are not content to live according to the Law, but of their own free will perform 
more than is prescribed by the Law, and devising washing of vessels and cups and platters and 
other articles of furniture, and frequently wash their hands and their feet; and who call all these 
many traditions they have added to the Law 'Deuteroses,' as though they were a second series of 
Divine Laws, and they falsely ascribe the first to Moses, and the second to Rabbi Akiba, and the 
third to Annas who is also called Judas, and the fourth to the suns of the Hasmoneans, who even 
violated the Sabbath in battle. 

Together with all these Jewish heresies and heresiarchs, deuteroses and 


givers thereof, I anathematize those who celebrate the feast of Mordecai on the first Sabbath of 
the Christian fast, hanging the effigy of Haman on a gibbet, and mingling the sign of the cross 
therewith, and burning alt together, and subjecting the Christians to every kind of curse and 

II. Together with the ancients, I anathematize also the Chief Rabbis and new evil doctors of the 
Jews, to wit, Lazarus the inventor of the abominable feast which they call Monopodaria, and 
Elijah who was no less impious, and Benjamin, Zebedee, Abraham, Symbatius and the rest of 
them. Further, I invoke every curse and anathema on him whose coming is expected by the Jews 
as the Christ or Anointed, but is rather Anti-Christ, and I renounce him and commit myself to the 
only true Christ and God. And I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy 
consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity; I confess the Incarnation and the coming to man of the 
one of the Holy Trinity, to wit, the only begotten son and Word of God, begotten of the Father 
before all the centuries, through Whom all things were made. I believe Him to be the Messiah 
foretold by the Law and the prophets: and I am convinced that He has already come into the 
world for the salvation of mankind; that He was truly made man, and did not surrender His 
Divinity, that he is truly God and truly man, without confusion, change or alteration, of one 
person and two natures. I believe that He suffered all things of His own will, and was crucified in 
the flesh, while His Divinity remained impassable, and was buried, and rose again on the third 
day, and ascended into heaven, and shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the 

And I believe and profess the Blessed Virgin Mary, who bore Him according to the flesh, and 
who remained a virgin, to be truly and actually the Mother of God, and I venerate and honor her 
truly as the Mother of God Incarnate, and as the Lady and mistress thereby of all creation. 

I am convinced and confess and believe that the bread and the wine which is mystically 


consecrated among Christians, and which they take in their sacred rites, is the very body and 
blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, transmuted by His Divine power reasonably and invisibly, in His 
own way beyond all natural understanding, and I confess that in taking the sacrament I am taking 
His very body and blood, to the gaining of life eternal and the inheritance of the Kingdom of 
heaven which belongs to those who receive them in perfect faith. 

Finally, I beg for Christian baptism, out of a pure and a spotless heart and mind, and a sincere 
faith, truly persuaded that it is the true spiritual 


washing, and regeneration of the soul and body. 

III. I receive, honor and accept as symbols and indications of their prototypes, the venerable 
Cross of the true Christ and God, no longer the instrument of death and crime, but of liberty and 
eternal life, and the sign of victory over death and Satan; likewise, I receive the hitherto 
venerated images of both the Word of God according to the flesh among men, and likewise, of 
the most pure and ineffable Mother of God, of the holy angels, and finally of all the saints. 

I honor and venerate with the honor due to them the blessed angels and all the saints, not 
only the patriarchs and prophets, but the apostles, martyrs, confessors, doctors, saints, all indeed 
who pleased Christ when lie came, as His servants and faithful followers. 

Wherefore, with my whole heart and mind and with deliberate choice, I come to the Christian 

But if I make this statement falsely and deceitfully, and not on the witness of my whole 
conviction and in love for the Christ who has already come, but because of some compulsion, 
necessity, fear, loss, poverty, debt, accusation brought against me, worldly honor, dignity of any 
kind, money, promised gifts, or to serve some end, or for human protection, or because of 
dispute and quarrel with some of my own faith, or to revenge myself thus on the Christians, 
feigning respect for their law, or if I pretend to become a Christian because of some injuries 
suffered from them, and then revert to Judaism, or be found eating with the Jews, or observing 
their feasts and fasts, or speaking secretly with them, or defaming the Christian faith, or visiting 
their synagogues or oratories, or taking them tinder my protecting, and do not rather confute the 
said Jews and their acts openly, and revile their empty faith, then may there come upon me all 
the curses which Moses wrote in Deuteronony, and the trembling of Cain, and the leprosy of 
Gehazi, in addition to the penalties by law established, and may I be without any hope of pardon, 
and in the age to come may I be anathema and double anathema, and may my soul be set down 
with Satan and his demons." 



Chapter IX 


It has been said that what is hated tong enough will in the end become hateful, and this 
aphorism is so far exemplified in the history of the Nazarenes that having been continually 
treated as heretics, they did eventually become heretical. Cut off from communion with their 
brethren by race on one side, and faith on the other, their resistance to Gnostic influences was 
steadily worn down, and their doctrines became more and more divergent from the tradition 
which had supported them for nearly five hundred years. 

Already in the fourth century, the separation between the Syrian and Transjordanian Jewish 
Christians seems to have become absolute: the former suffering a slow extinction and in part 
being absorbed by the Gentile Syrian Church, while the latter were well nigh submerged by the 
strange sects of the eastern deserts. 

In order to understand the causes of Ebionite-Nazarene disruption, one has to go a long way 
back to the genesis of the Hasidic movement in the second century B.C. At that time there came 
into existence a body of "purists" or "pietists" as a protest against the hellenization which was 
undermining Jewish allegiance to the ancestral beliefs. 

After the Maccabean struggle in which they actively participated, they retired altogether from 
public affairs, and about B.C. 72, were joined by the Zaddokites, who were being persecuted by 
the Pharisees."' These followers of a certain Zadok, or perhaps the righteous priest of that name 
in the reign of David, were antagonistic to doctrines inferred from the Law and not implicit in it, 
and so opposed to the Pharisee interpretations which resulted in the Oral Law. In the quiet places 
of their choosing in the wilderness of Engedi. the Hasidic groups, better known as Essenes, 
developed a kind of theosophy in which a knowledge of angelic powers played a part. They 
practised healing and laid great stress on personal purity, which demanded frequent ablutions. It 
is a critical question how far the movement headed by John the Baptist drew its inspiration from 
this source. Names by which different groups became known, Hemerobaptists, Masbotheans, 
etc., attest the manner of life which they adopted. In the early days of Christianity, another group 
became prominent, followers of a certain Elzai or Elkesai, supposed to mean "the hidden virtue," 
but whose name may have been taken on the pattern of the Zaddokites from 


the ancient Jewish high priest Hilkiah. 

The Jewish Christian refugees from the overthrow of Jerusalem were thrown into close 
proximity with these offshoots of Judaism, and only the strength of their convictions prevented 
an early amalgamation with the Jewish sectaries with whom they had so much in common. The 
Elkesean propaganda shows clear traces of infiltration of Nazarene ideas, and Epiphanius tells us 
the founder of this heresy was greatly honored by the Nazarenes and Ebionites who highly 
esteemed his book.'^° To many of the rabbinical Jews, the tenets of the eastern gnostics made a 
strong appeal. They caught them on the reaction from the frustration of their political hopes. The 
Sephar Yetsirah (Book of Formation) and the mystic lore of the Merkhagaqn (the Heavenly 
Chariot) bear witness to this infiuence, which in orthodox Judaism finally led to Kabbalism. 

Gentile Christianity also suffered from Egyptian gnostic seductions, which assumed a form 


agreeing readily with the new Christology, and it took all the thunder of eminent divines like 
Irenaeus, Hippolytus and Tertullian to vanquish the intruder. The first Epistle to Timothy closes 
with a warning against "profane and vain babblings, and the antitheses of the Gnosis, falsely so- 
called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith. "'^' The doctrine of the Pairs and 
Opposites (antitheses), the successive emanations from the Godhead, was a common feature of 
all the gnostic systems. According to the greatest of the gnostics, Valentinus, there were fifteen 
of these. 

In the Jewish form of gnosticism, these emanations are represented by the ten sephiroth, 
which telescope out of each other or branch out from the Tree of Life. We find Jewish 
Christianity affected with this doctrine, and these words are put into the mouth of Peter in the 
Clementine Homilies: 

Hence therefore God, teaching men with respect to the truth of existing things, being 
himself One and sole God from the beginning, having made heaven and earth, day and 
night, light and fire, sun and moon, life and death. But man alone amongst these he 
made self-controlling, having a fitness to be either righteous or unrighteous. To him 
also he hath varied the figures of combinations, placing before him small things first, 
and great ones afterwards, such as the world and eternity. But the world that now is, is 
temporary: that which shall be, is eternal. First is ignorance, then knowledge. So also 
has he arranged the leaders of prophecy. For, since the present world is female, as a 


bringing forth the souls of her children, but the world to come is male, as a father 
receiving his children; therefore in this world there come a succession of prophets, as 
being sons of the world to come, and having a knowledge of men. And if pious men 
had understood this mystery, they would never have gone astray. '^^ 

In the so-called Gospel of the Egyptians, a gnostic Gospel, Egypt being the spiritual home of 
the mysteries, Jesus is made to say, "I have come to destroy the works of the woman" i.e., the 
works of this world. The same Gospel develops the idea of Christ transforming the present 
cosmos, typified by a woman, Salome, into the male world-to-come by an androgynus process in 
which male and female are reunited in one body as at the beginning of the creation when God 
made man male and female. The doctrine reached full development in the Sophia literature, 
erring Wisdom, she who had to be redeemed by the descent of Christ from on high and restored 
to her rightful place in the celestial hierarchy. The theme was an elevated one and had a wide 
appeal, so that it could produce a worthy hymnology of which the following example may be 

First, there was Mind the generative Law of all. 
Second to the firstborn was liquid Chaos. 
Third, soul, through toil received the Law: 
In misery she enters the labyrinth of ills, 
and Jesus said: O Father, I will descend. 
Through aeons universal will I make a path. 
Through mysteries all I'll open up a way. 
And forms of gods will I display. 
The secret of the holy path I will hand on. 


And call it Gnosis. 

In this hymn the link with the Pauline school can be clearly seen. 

Christ is the head of the Church: and he is the Savior of the body .... Christ loved the 
Church, and gave himself for it .... that he might present it .... not having spot or 
wrinkle, or any such thing .... For this cause shall a Man (Christ Jesus) leave his Father 
(God) and mother (Holy Spirit), and be joined unto his wife (the Church), and they two 
shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the 
Church. '2^ 

In the Gospel of the Hebrews. Jesus also speaks of die Holy Spirit as his Mother, and says. 
"My mysteries are for me and the sons of my house." There grew up an esoteric doctrine of the 
Savior revealed only 


to the initiated, and of which naturally we now know very little. 


In its more ascetic and unworldly forms. Gnosticism was distinguished by celibacy and 
vegetarianism.'^"^ In the Catholic church through the teaching of Clement of Alexandria and the 
school of Origen, this gave rise to monasticism. 

It was these ideas which peopled the deserts of Nitria and Scete with myriads of monks 
wrestling with their bodies, those prison-houses of the soul, struggling to die to the world of 
matter, that their ethereal souls might shake themselves free.'^^ 

We know little about celibacy among the Jewish Christians, but vegetarianism in time 
became an essential of their faith, so that they were even driven to altering their Gospel to 
support their doctrine, omitting locusts from the dietary of the Baptist, and changing the saying 
of Jesus to his disciples before the last supper to, "Have I desired to eat this flesh of the Passover 
with you?"'^^ A stage in the development of this prejudice against animal food is found in the 
belief that the sacrificial system had been done away in Christ, to be replaced by thanksgiving 
(eucharist), and Scriptures such as Psalm 50:13-14, 69:3 1 were quoted as proof It was said that 
by the grace of baptism Jesus had extinguished the fire on the priest's altar, and he was made to 
say in the corrupted Hebrew Gospel, "I came to destroy the sacrifices, and if ye cease not from 
sacrificing, the wrath of God will not cease from you." In allusion to which, the rabbis 
nicknamed Jesus Thodah (thanksgiving).'^^ 

It has been necessary to treat of Gnosticism at such length because it is directly due to its 
subtle influence that the downfall of independent Jewish Christianity must be attributed. The 
Christology of the Ebionites had become, in the fourth century, a curious blend of old and new 
conceptions. According to Epiphanius, they said: 

That Jesus was begotten of the seed of man, and was chosen; and so by the choice he 
was called son of God from the Christ that entered into him from above in the likeness 
of a dove. And they deny that he was begotten of God the Father, but say that he was 
created, as one of the archangels, yet greater, and that he is the lord of angels and of all 
things made by the Almighty. 

The Christ (above), they say, is a manlike figure, invisible to men in general.'^* 


They also seem to have held that it was possible for any of their number to attain to 
Christhood by leading a life of equal sanctity. 

There is a deep tragedy in the end of the once powerful and respected Church of the 
Apostles. No sudden and merciful extinction was granted to the ancient communities of Jewish 
Believers; but a show decay set in which in the course of time reduced their number to a few 
fragmentary groups who had almost forgotten their own origin. We would like to know more 
about those closing scenes, but the successive waves of Persian and Arab invasion which swept 
over Syria and Palestine made even Gentile Christianity a hunted thing so that the records are 
well nigh silent. We do hear casually that a Persian commander on one occasion asked the 
Byzantine general, Belisarius, to postpone a battle as it would have taken place during the 
Passover, when the Jews and Nazarenes would not willingly fight;'^' so that early in the seventh 
century the Nazarenes were still fairly numerous. 

The venerable text of the Hebrew Gospel preserved in the Pamphilian Library at Cesarea was 
itself reduced to ashes in the sack of the city by the Mohammedans in A.D. 653, and almost the 
latest traces of it at present known are a few marginal readings from "the Jewish" in the so-called 
Zion group of manuscripts. 

A few of the Nazarenes may have joined the standard of the Prophet; for some of the 
Christian references in the Koran appear to rest on Jewish Christian apocrypha: but such 
references as the Arab writers offer us point to the lingering on of isolated and eccentric groups. 
We have a statement of the En-Nadim about the Mughtasila, or "Washers," who in the tenth 
century still reverenced a prophet called Al-Hasih, evidently the old Elkesai of the Ebionites and 
Hemerobaptists, and possibly the Nazarene-Mandaites of the Euphrates valley even today 
preserve vestiges of the ancient traditions. Recently the writer has obtained evidence in Palestine 
which may identify with the Nazarenes another small group inhabiting the Transjordanian 
highlands in the little village of El-Husn. These Arabs, as they call themselves, keep Sabbath and 
circumcision, are vegetarians and non-smokers, reject image worship and govern their lives by 
the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount. They look for Christ to return and reign for a thousand 

With the rise of Islam, the real work of Jewish Christianity in the East 


had finished. It had left in possession at least a faith in which the Unity of God was a 
fundamental principle and in which Jesus was recognized as a great and true prophet. The story 
is told of the Emperor Heraclius, that being warned in a dream that his power would be destroyed 
by "the circumcised" he ordered the compulsory baptism of all the Jews in his realm: he did not 
realize that "the circumcised" were really the Arabs. '^° From this time the future of Jewish 
Christianity lay in the West until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. 



Chapter X 


The history of Jewish Christianity from the seventh century to the represent day is principally 
a record of individual converts, who, such was the intolerance of the times, scarcely dare 
acknowledge their Jewish extraction for fear of persecution on the ground of sympathy towards 
their former co-religionists. Bitter accusations have been brought against Jewish Christians by 
Jewish writers, of fanatically persecuting their brethren, and it is sad to relate but honest to 
confess that in a great many instances these charges are true. When, however, the religious and 
social conditions are taken into consideration certain circumstances appear which explain many 
of these unhappy occurrences, 

A large number of so-called converts were compulsory Christians, whom the Jews classed as 
Anusim, as distinguished from Meshumadim Apostates), who had been baptized in order to 
escape confiscation of their goods, if not the loss of their lives, or had adopted the Christian faith 
from motives of self interest. Such converts had their every action scrutinized by a vigilant and 
bigoted clergy ever on the look out to discover the least signs of relapse into Judaism; and 
immunity from espionage was often only purchased by a zeal for Jewish conversion and 
persecution of those who resisted the Christian claims. The crime of Judaizing, which sometimes 
meant nothing more than saying a word in favor of the Jews, was punished by heavy fines, 
confiscation of property, lifelong imprisonment, or death, according to the heinousness of the 
offence. The instinct for self-preservation may thus be pleaded in extenuation of much that 
Jewish people suffered at the hands of Christianized Jews. 

In the case of sincere Jewish Christians, who must always be distinguished from Christianized 
Jews, the real motive which animated them was the desire to open the eyes of their brethren to 
the saving truth that Jesus is the Messiah. The efforts of these converts, however, were too often 
frustrated by the clergy supporting them, who with great zeal but little understanding went 
beyond the gentler arts of persuasion and demonstration to use harsher methods to soften 
obdurate hearts. Many a mission, which might have proved successful if the Jewish converts had 
been left alone to present their case in their own way, was turned into a massacre by 
ecclesiastical interference or popular malice, to the great sorrow of those who were unwittingly 
responsible. In the instances of 


definite fanaticism which have to be recorded, the harsh polemics and burnings of the Talmud, 
one must remember that blasphemy was a much more grievous sin in those days, that the torment 
of the damned in hell was a reality that made any present suffering worth while if it could secure 
immunity, and that cruelty in word and act was less tempered by social custom. 

The Jews themselves were by no means guiltless of acts of violence, though with more excuse, 
especially when goaded to madness by persecution, and they frequently behaved so vengefully 
towards converts as to bring down retributive measures on their own heads. One can only read 
with shame some of their penitential prayers and their obscene libels on Jesus and his mother 
which they wrote and studied in secret. 

As for those ghouls of Jewish race, mercifully few, who battened on their people's misery, and 
used Christianity as a cloak to enrich themselves by the spoliation of their brethren, no words can 


express their infamy, which is as much a disgrace to Judaism as it is to Jewish Christianity. 

Considering the persecutions which the Jews in Europe endured at Christian hands, and the 
corrupt state of the Christian rehgion, it is a great wonder that there were any sincere converts at 
all, instead of the love of Christ the Jew saw only undying hatred. The methods which were 
employed in his attempted conversion could not but confirm him in his detestation of so 
barbarous a faith. 

Every passion was in arms against them. The monarchs were instigated by avarice; the 
nobility by the warlike spirit generated by chivalry; the clergy by bigotry; the people by all 
these concurrent motives. Each of the great changes which were gradually taking place in the 
state of the world seemed to darken the condition of this unhappy people, till the outward 
degradation worked inward upon their own minds. Confined to base and sordid occupations, 
they contracted their thoughts and feelings to their station, individual and national character 
must be endowed with more than ordinary greatness if it can long maintain self-estimation 
after it has totally lost the esteem of mankind; the despised will usually become 

There is a considerable element of truth in this statement, though it is straining the facts to 
suggest that the Jews ever sunk into a state of complete degradation. Surprising as it is they were 
able to give of their best during the dark night of persecution, and their sweetest poetry and most 


philosophy was penned under the awful conditions of their existence. 

One cannot help feeling to a certain extent that the church in desiring Jewish conversion was 
not so much concerned that this people might share in the blessings of Christ, but that a sore and 
excresence on the Christian body politic might be removed. Popular superstition even had it that 
the Jew was possessed of an offensive odor, which disappeared on his baptism. At the best, 
Jewish survival was a challenge to Christian supremacy, and the war on Judaism was a war on an 
enemy of the State. To employ a modern American expression, the Jew was Christendom's 
Public Enemy No. 1 . 

But the object of this history is not to record the sufferings of the Jewish people, which have 
been fully dealt with by many writers, yet injustice to those who might have been Christ's but 
for Christendom, one cannot omit in the course of the narrative some account of Christian 
methods of propaganda among the Jews. 

One may say indeed that a reference to these methods is essential to the history; for the story of 
Jewish Christianity is almost inextricably intertwined with that of the Jewish people. It is a 
curious kind of history with little of logical sequence; a stepping from century to century and 
from place to place through all the lands of Israel's dispersion, examining the archives for 
evidence of Jewish believers in Jesus Christ, and noting the part they played in their day and 
generation. Occasionally one lights on a family or group that offers a more protracted picture, a 
beacon that burns a little longer than others before it is swallowed up in the surrounding 
darkness. Yet a beacon is a static thing, and our chain of believing Israelites is marching with the 
centuries, a procession of torchbearers. 

For many hundreds of years, long anterior even to the fateful fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, a 
Jewish population had been building up in the great western peninsular of Spain. The country 


had suffered in the early fifth century the ruthless invasion of the barbarian hordes that swept 
across Europe, vandals, Alani and Suevi, but by A.D. 429 the two first had retired to Africa and 
the last had been entirely subdued by the Visigoth Theodoric in 456. Although nominally the 
reoccupation of Spain was for the Roman emperor, it was not long before the Visigoths had 
established a kingdom free from any allegiance to Rome. Jewish non-resistance to the invaders 
had preserved them from some of the worst severities of the struggle, and under the earlier 
Visigothic kings who favored the Arian interpretation of Christianity they multiplied and 
prospered. A change 


took place with the adoption by a later king Recared of the Nicene Creed, and it was in this reign 
that the first laws adverse to the Jews were passed, A.D. 589. 

But these decrees were as nothing compared with what was to follow twenty-five years later. 
Inspired by the Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius, the compulsory conversion of all the Jews in the 
Visigothic kingdom was decreed by King Sisebut in A.D. 614. The proclamation, as preserved in 
the Spanish code Fuero Jusgo, runs as follows: 

Whereas Truth itself instructs us to ask, and to knock, assuring us that the kingdom of 
heaven suffereth violence: it cannot be doubted that whosoever fails to approach it with an 
ardent desire, is a despiser of the proffered grace. 

Wherefore, if any of those Jews as yet unbaptized, shall delay to be himself baptized, or 
neglect to send his children and slaves to the priest for baptism while it is offered, thus 
abiding without the grace of baptism, for the space of one year from the issue of this decree: 
every such transgressor, wherever found, shall be stripped, and shall suffer one hundred 
lashes, as likewise the due penalty of exile: his goods shall be forfeit to the king; and in 
order that his life may be the more painful, if unamended, such goods shall become the 
perpetual property of those on whom the king shall bestow them. 

The decree fell like a bombshell on the Jewish communities, and even a famous 
contemporary churchman, St. Isidore of Seville, felt that the king had exceeded his duties. 
"Sisebut," he wrote, "by urging the Jews into Christianity, had indeed 'a zeal for God, but 
not according to knowledge.' For he forcibly compelled those whom he should rather have 
persuaded by arguments of the faith. "'^^ 

The protests of the Jews were in vain. The author of the Shevet Yehudah (The Scepter of 
Judah) has given an argument put forward by one of the learned representatives. He thus 
addressed the king: 

It is written in our Law, that Israel formerly despised the great gift of God, the land 
flowing with milk and honey. I ask, O king, what should be the penalty of those who despise 
the gift of God? The king replied: "That too is wisely stated in your law; the loss of what 
they despise. See then, O king," said the rabbi, "to what thou hast said. Thou hast offered us 
in baptism 


a life everlasting. Be then the penalty for its neglect the loss of that blessing." But the king 
answered, "Compulsion is unjust in matters concerning the body, and that goodly land 
related to the body; but in things spiritual, it is proper, just as a child is coerced in its 



The wholesale baptism of the Jews followed. Some fleeing for refuge to the neighboring 
kingdom of the Franks, found to their horror and distress that a similar decree had been enacted 
there by the reigning monarch. King Dagobert. 

Thus was begun that pernicious policy which peopled Spain and Portugal, except for the 
interval of Moorish rule, with crypto- Jews down to the present day. Bound to Christianity by 
baptismal water, their faith had not more substance than water. Outwardly conforming to the 
riles of the Church, they led a life of painful and fearful hypocrisy. No less than 90,000 Jews are 
said to have submitted to Sisebut's Christening. 

Nineteen years later, when the Gothic throne was seized by Sisenand with the help of the 
Franks, there was a short respite from compulsory conversion. At the fourth Council of Toledo it 
was decreed: 

Concerning Jews, this holy synod has resolved to compel no one hereafter to accept our 
faith. For God has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he hardeneth: and 
such persons are not saved without consent, but willingly, that the attribute of justice may be 
kept secure. For as man by his own freewill, in yielding to the serpent, did perish; so when 
the grace of God doth call, each man is saved in believing, by the conversion of his own 
mind. Therefore, they are not to be urged by constraint, but persuaded through the free 
faculty of the will into conversion. 

Respecting those already forced into Christianity, as was done in the time of the most 
religious prince Sisebut, since it is evident that they have been partakers in the Divine 
sacraments, have received the grace of baptism, have been anointed with the chrism, and 
have received the body and blood of our Lord, it is right that these be obliged to retain the 
faith which, although under compulsion and necessity, still they have undertaken, lest the 
name of God be blasphemed, and the faith which they have assumed be accounted worthless 
and despicable. '^^ 

We have given this Canon in full, but there are others of the same 


Council from which extracts must be quoted, for it is only in the very words of these old decrees 
that we can obtain a true historical insight into the workings of the minds of the creators. 

Many who were formerly exalted to the Christian faith, are now known not only in 
blasphemy against Christ to perpetrate Jewish rites, but have even dared to practise the 
abomination of circumcision. . . . Transgressors after this sort, being apprehended by authority 
of the prelates, shall be recalled to the true worship according to Christian doctrine: so that 
those whom their own will cannot amend, may be coerced by sacerdotal correction.'^"* 

We decree that the sons and daughters of Jews are to be separated from their parents, lest 
they likewise be involved in their errors. '^^ 

Let there be no further communion of Jews who have been transferred to the Christian 
faith, with such as adhere to their ancient rites; lest perchance, by mingling with them, they 
be subverted. '^^ 

Jews having Christian wives, are to be admonished by the bishop of their diocese, that if 


they desire to abide with them, they must become Christian; and if, being so admonished, 
they refuse to obey, they shall be separated.'" 

Jews who were formerly Christian, but are now deniers of the faith in Christ, are not to be 
admitted in evidence at law, although they declare themselves Christians.'^** 

Can testimony be clearer as to what was the aim of these enactments? Judaism and the very 
name of Jew was an abomination, and must be rooted out of any Christian country. Wives are to 
be separated from husbands, children from parents, baptized Jew from obdurate Jew. What room 
was there here for true acceptance of Christ? Hearts broken with grief Minds tortured with 
suffering. If Christ was incarnate anywhere, surely it was in the souls of those who stoutly 
resisted him. But perhaps it was not Christ, but another in the shape of the outraged Nazarene. 
One remembers Brownings' s passionate lines: 

"Thou! if thou wast He. who at mid-watch came. 
By the starlight, naming a dubious name! 
And if, too heavy with sleep ~ too rash 
With fear ~ O Thou, if that martyr-gash 
Fell on Thee coming to take thine own, 


And we gave the Cross, when we owed the Throne ~ 

"Thou art the Judge. We are bruised thus. 
But, the Judgment over, join sides with us! 
Thine too is the cause! and not more Thine 
Than ours, is the work of these dogs and swine. 
Whose life laughs through and spits at their creed! 
Who maintain Thee in word, and defy Thee in deed! 

"We withstood Christ then! Be mindful how 
At least we withstand Barabas now!'"^^ 



Chapter XI 


Another reign passed, and a sixth council sat at Toledo. There must be no half measure this 
time. All Jews, willy-nilly, must be swept into the kingdom of God. 

The inflexible perfidy of the Jews comes at length to be subdued by piety and the divine 
grace. For by inspiration of the Most High God, our most excellent and Christian prince 
(Chintila), inflamed with ardor for the faith, together with the clergy of his kingdom, has 
resolved to eradicate to the uttermost their prevarication and superstition, not suffering the 
residence of any one in the land, who is not a Catholic. For which zeal we render thanks to 
the Almighty King of Heaven that he has created a soul so illustrious, and endued it with his 
wisdom. May he bestow upon him a long life in this world, and glory everlasting in the 

Piety? Divine grace? Inspiration? One can only echo the words in mockery. And what is the 
product of such wise and gracious counsels? A Christianized Jewish population, cowed and 
desperate, from which all the attributes of manhood have fallen away, leaving a cringing creature 
whom our eyes can only look upon with pity. Yet because these Jews profess somehow the faith 
of Christ we must number them in our story, and present this relic of them, which surely is the 
strangest and saddest document one can find. It is an address presented to King Reccesuinth in 
A.D. 653. 

To the most clement and serene, 

our lord the King Reccesuinth 

we Hebrews of Toledo and all Spain, 

as under subscribed and sealed. 

Well, indeed, and justly, do we remember to have been compelled to draw up an 

agreement in the name of the memory of King Chintila, of the observance of the 

Catholic faith: and this we did. But forasmuch as the perfidy of our obstinacy, and the 

inveteracy of our ancestral error, have impeded our true belief in the Lord Jesus 

Christ, and sincere adhesion to the Catholic faith ~ we do now freely and cheerfully 

vow to your glory, for ourselves, our wives, and our children, by this our declaration. 


that henceforward we will retain no marriage usages or observances against the rules 

of the Church. 

We will not associate with the ever-to-be-execrated company of unbaptized Jews. 

We will not contract marriages within the sixth degree (of consanguinity) as we have 


We will not contract marriages with our own nation, neither ourselves, nor our sons, 

nor our posterity: but in each sex will hereafter marry only with Christians. 

We will not practise circumcision, or celebrate Passover, Sabbath, or other festival 

according to Jewish rites. 

We will make no discrimination of food, nor in any way observe the abominable 

usages, customs, or conversation of Jews. 

But with sincere faith, grateful mind, and full devotion, will believe in, confess, and 


adore, Christ the Son of the Living God, according to the evangeUcal and apostoUcal 

We will truly keep, and sincerely embrace, all the usages of the holy Christian 
religion, regarding holy days, marriage and diet, and every other observance, with no 
reservation, objection, or false argument on our part, by means of which we might 
hereafter practise what we hereby renounce, or fail to fulfil what we hereby promise. 
Concerning swine's flesh, we thus engage ourselves, that, although on account of 
long habit we are not able to endure it, yet we will eat without horror or disgust, of 
such meats as are dressed along with it. 

And if, in any of these matters aforesaid, we be found transgressors in the least 
degree; or shall presume to act contrary to the Christian faith; or shall delay to 
accomplish in word or deed such things as are agreeable to the Catholic religion ~ we 
swear by the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, One in Trinity, and the true God, that every 
singly transgressor among us may be punished with fire and stoning: or if the 
clemency of your glory should spare his life, both himself and all that pertains to him 
may be bestowed in slavery on whomsoever you may please: or whatever else you 
may command to be done with him or his goods, shall be performed; not only by 
virtue of your sovereign power, but also by the ratification of this our solemn 


Done at Toledo, 21st of March, 
in the sixth year of your glory. 
In the name of God. 

Poor Christianized Jews. Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel; accepting the whole 
Nicene Creed, but still rejecting the flesh of swine! 

But God can make even the wrath of man to praise Him; and at this very time a boy was 
growing to manhood of Jewish birth, who was to become Primate of all Spain, and one of the 
spiritual and intellectual lights of his age, "a rose among thorns," as one of his biographers. 
Isidor de Bejah, calls him. 

The parentage of Julian, Archbishop of Toledo, is unknown, and even the exact date of his 
birth is uncertain; but it is probable that he was the son of one of Sisebut's compulsory converts. 
He was educated at a religious institution in Toledo. We know little of his youth, except that 
there sprang up between himself and a fellow student Gudilan, a sweet friendship, which 
developed into a mutual aspiration after holiness. Both were inclined to an ascetic life, and 
desired to enter a monastery. But this wish did not materialize, for in 656, Julian was appointed 
Archdeacon of the Cathedral of Toledo, and Gudilan became a priest. Their friendship, however, 
continued until Gudilan' s death in 679. 

Soon the fame of Julian's learning was spread abroad, and ere long he was designated as 
successor to the Archbishopric, to which he was eventually appointed in 680. In this capacity he 
anointed Ervigio, King of Spain, and presided at the twelfth Council of Toledo. One wonders 
how he must have felt at the insistence of the members of that Council on further harsh 
enactments against the Jews. He could not have been altogether a party to them, for his charity of 


mind was well known. His successor in the see spoke of him as a man who came very near to the 
ideal of a servant of Christ. As an instance of Julian's friendly relations with the Jews, one may 
relate how he once sent a copy of his book on the future life to Bishop Idalus of Barcelona by the 
hand of a Jewish acquaintance, named Restitutus, to the grave displeasure of the recipient, who 
wrote to the author marvelling that so orthodox an authority could entrust a spiritual writing to 
"an infidel and godless Jew; and make as it were an animal a bearer of light." 

Julian was a man of many brilliant gifts. His Apologeticum Fidei 


expressed his own independent views on the Trinity to the Pope, and caused annoyance at Rome. 
As an historian, his name lives as to the author of the Historia Rebellionis Pauli. But for our 
purpose his work designed to convert the Jews is of more importance. The De Comprobatione 
yEtatis Sextce Contra Judceos was written in 686 at the request of King Ervigio, to combat the 
Jewish claim that the Messiah was not to come until the sixth millennium after the Creation, and 
that therefore Jesus could not be he. Julian's refutation of the Jewish argument rested on the 
chronology of the Greek Septuagint version of the Bible, which was deemed by the Church to be 
a purer text than that of the Jews, the Massoretic Hebrew. He cannot, however, have felt that his 
opponents would be greatly influenced, for in his dedication to the king, he remarks that "if the 
Jew be not improved by the book, at least the Christian may derive some benefit from it." Yet his 
prophetic position is strong enough. "Dost thou seek the kingdom of the Jews? he exclaims. 
"There is none! Seekest thou the altar of the Jews? There is none! Seekest thou the sacrifice of 
the Jews? It is no more! Seekest thou the priesthood of the Jews? It no longer exists! Everything 
is gone of which Daniel of old prophesied that it would cease when the Most Holy was 
anointed!" Out of his heart he cries to his own flesh and blood, "Viam perdidisti, viarn ergo 
sequere, utper viam venias ad salutem " (Thou hast lost the way, therefore seek the way, that by 
it thou mayest come unto salvation). 

Julian of Toledo died on March 6th, AD. 690, full of years and honor, and mourned by all 

In Europe the Church held such undisputed possession of the religious field, that it was able to 
tyrannize over the whole population from the king downwards, and to conduct its missionary 
propaganda with unmitigated severity backed by the secular arm. But in the East the state had 
not so wholly delivered itself into ecclesiastical hands even in Christian countries, and the 
existence of rival religions provided a healthy competition of souls, which in part toned down the 
physical manifestation oi odium theologicum. Of slander and vituperation there was plenty; but 
hard words break no bones, and apart from isolated instances of aggression in the instruments of 
warfare were largely the tongue and the pen. It remains for the apostles of Islam to make an 
onslaught on opposition in any 


way comparable to the methods of the Western Church, and even so the followers of the Camel- 
driver were less intolerant than the followers of the Carpenter, and allowed a man to retain his 
faith in that faith did not provoke acts of hostility to the dominant regime. 

The approach to the Jew of the Eastern Church was therefore through disputation, so beloved 
of the oriental mind; and when this practice was followed in Europe, it was largely at the 


instigation of Jewish Christians. 

The accounts of these disputations which have become available to us date almost entirely 
from the seventh century, before the overwhelming conquests of Islam. There was the 
disputation between Herbanus the Jew and Gregentius, Archbishop of Tephren in Ethiopia. The 
victory of the Church in this case was due to a miracle. It was argued by the Archbishop that 
Jesus was yet alive, and the Jews therefore, seeing a loophole for escape from the discussion, 
promised to believe in him if they see him. Through the prayer of the Archbishop, the heavens 
are opened with a clap of thunder, and the revelation is made, striking all the Jews with 
blindness. Herbanus. however, exclaims: "When a man beholds his God, he receives a blessing 
therefrom. But we, when we behold your God, receive evil. If such are the gifts He bestows on 
those who come to Him, certainly he does not share the goodness of his Father." "It is your 
blasphemies which have blinded you," replies the Archbishop. "If He renders evil for evil, to 
whom are you committing us?" "At the font you will receive your sight." "And if we are 
baptized and remain blind?" "I will baptize one and he will see; if not, do not believe." Herbanus 
agrees. The baptized Jew receives his sight again, and Herbanus and all the other Jews follow his 

A second disputation is of more interest to us as it took place between Jewish Christians and 
their brethren. The time is that of the Emperor Heraclius, when many Jews were forced into 
Christianity. One, Jacob, had escaped baptism by pretending to be a Christian, until he was found 
out by an exclamation made by him when falling down a flight of stairs. He was then taken and 
baptized, and took his faith in such earnest, that he convened a series of meetings with other 
forcibly baptized Jews, and reasoned with them that the religion they had acquired was indeed 
the true one. The meetings are interrupted by the intrusion of an unbaptized Jew, who creates a 
sensation by attacking Jacob's character as a former scoundrel, and by claiming that the Messiah 
is yet to come: he also states that in any case the converts are in error from having been baptized 
at the 


wrong season. Finally after some turbulent gatherings, the Jew is silenced, and Jacob continues 
his exposition without interruption to such effect that the Jew is convinced and asks for baptism. 
He receives it, and sets out to win other Jews to Christ. 

There are other disputations to which it is not necessary to refer here, but which may be 
studied in Dr. Parkes' monumental work, from which the two examples quoted above have been 
taken. '4' 

The conquest of Spain by the Moors initiated a time of peace for the Jews, which they were not 
again to enjoy for several centuries. The breath of the old-wise East blew softly across Europe, 
bearing learning and enlightenment, and with wisdom came a measure of toleration. A golden 
age dawned for Judaism. In the new humanitarian atmosphere the repressed genius of the 
Hebrews blossomed and flowered, and produced distinguished scholars, poets and physicians. To 
this state of general well-being the liberal Carlovingnian kings greatly contributed. Pepin, 
Charlemagne and Louis le Debonnaire eased the Jewish burden, so that the populace began to 
regard the former outcasts again as, "the only people of God." Charlemagne chose as one of his 
ambassadors to the famous Caliph, Haroun al Rashchid, a certain Isaac, so that "Europe and Asia 


beheld the extraordinary spectacle of a Jew conducting the political correspondence between the 
courts of Aiz-la-Chapelle and Baghdad. "''*^ Louis, in turn, had as his most confidential adviser 
Zedekiah, a Jewish physician. It was in vain for such fanatical churchmen as Agobard, Bishop of 
Lyons, to protest against the royal favor extended to an "accursed" people; he was only snubbed 
for his pains. The times were more in sympathy with the scholarly calligrapher, Alcuin. 

We see the same mildness manifested to the Jews in England, where William Rufus 
summoned a convocation of Jewish rabbis and Christian bishops at London to argue their 
respective creeds before him, and swore that if the Jews gained the victory, then by St. Luke's 
face he would embrace Judaism. The issue, however, was indecisive, in spite of a thunderstorm 
and an earthquake, which the Christians construed as a sign from heaven in their favor. A further 
account of King William's relations with the Jews is given in Holingshed's Chronicles^ and 
illustrates Jewish Christianity in this reign. 

The king being at Rhoan (Rouen) on a time, there came to him 


divers Jews who inhabited that city, complaining that divers of that nation had renounced 
their Jewish religion, and were become Christians: wherefore they besought him that, for a 
certain sum of money which they offered to give, it might please him to constrain them to 
abjure Christianity, and to turn to the Jewish Law again. He was content to satisfy their 
desires. And so, receiving their money, called them before him; and what with threats, and 
putting them otherwise in fear, he compelled divers of them to forsake Christ, and to turn to 
their old errors. Hereupon, the father of one Stephen, a Jew converted to the Christian faith, 
being sore troubled for that his son was turned a Christian (and hearing what the king had 
done in like matters), presented unto him sixty marks of silver conditionally, that he should 
enforce his son to return to his Jewish religion: whereupon the young man was brought 
before the king, unto whom the king said: "Sirrah, thy father here complaineth that without 
his license thou art become a Christian: if this be true, I command thee to return again on the 
religion of thy nation, without any more ado." To whom the young man answered: "Your 
grace (as I guess) doth but jest." Wherewith the king being moved, said: "What! thou 
dunghill knave, should I jest with thee? Get thee hence quickly and fulfil my commandment, 
or by St. Luke's face, I shall cause thine eyes to be plucked out of thine head." The young 
man, nothing abashed thereat, with a constant voice answered: 'Truly I will not do it; but 
know for certain that if you were a good Christian, you would never have uttered such words; 
for it is the part of a Christian to reduce them again to Christ which are departed from him, 
and not to separate them from him which rejoined to him by faith." The king, herewith 
confounded, commanded the Jew to get him out of his sight. But the father, perceiving that 
the king could not persuade his son to forsake the Christian faith, required to have his money 
again. To whom the king said, he had done so much as he promised to do; that was, to 
persuade him so far as he might At length when he would have had the king deal further in 
the matter, the king, to stop his mouth, tendered back to him the half of his money, and kept 
the other himself All which increased the suspicion men had of his infidelity. 


In this age of revival of letters in Europe, in which the Jews played so prominent a part, it 
would be surprising if there were no contribution from a Jewish Christian. Nor are we 
disappointed; for there flourished at Huesca in Aragon, newly recovered from the Moors, that 


distinguished servant of Christ, Moses Sephardi. Born at Huesca in 1062, he was baptized in his 
native city on June 29th. 1 106, King Alfonso I of Aragon and VI of Castile standing godfather to 
him. It being St. Peter's Day, and in honor of his royal sponsor, Moses took the baptismal name 
of Petrus Alfonsi. lie was made physician-in-ordinary to the king: but it is not on his medical 
skill that his fame rests, but as the author of the Disciplina Clericalis, a work consisting of a 
series of moral stories, some of them of Arabian origin. The stories became quickly popular, and 
their influence may be traced far and wide for generations. They enriched that other famous 
medieval collection, the Gesta Romanorum; several of them were incorporated by Chaucer in his 
Cantrerbury Tales, and some are found at the end of the great printer Caxton's translation of 
Aisop 's Fables as thirteen apologues of "Alfonce." 

Petrus Alfonsi also wrote a controversial work consisting of twelve Dialogues between Pedro 
and Mose, i.e., himself before and after conversion, in which he attempted very lovingly and 
humanely to influence his own people towards Christ. From the text it is clear that he belonged 
to the school of thought which interpreted the prophets spiritually, and he believed that his nation 
had been misled through treating them carnaliter, in a material sense. Alfonsi died in 1 1 10, at 
the early age of forty-eight, and was fortunately spared witnessing some of the sufferings that 
were again to fall on the Jews of Spain. 



Chapter XII 


The era of peace and tolerance was all too soon ended. The voice of a strange fanatic was 
heard in Europe, a voice which was to herald the rape, torture and murder of thousands of 
Israelites. Peter the Hermit was calling men to the First Crusade. 

Surely one of the strangest anomalies in Christian history was this setting forth of thousands of 
Christians to deliver the sepulchre of the Jewish Savior with their hands imbued with Jewish 
blood. Even the heroic knight Godfrey de Bouillon declared that he would avenge the blood of 
Jesus on that of the Jews. A madness seized the cites of the Rhine. 

The abominal Germans and French rose up against them (the Jews), people of a fierce 
countenance that have no respect to the persons of the aged, neither have they mercy upon 
the young, and they said: "Let us be revenged for our Messiah upon the Jews that are among 
us, and let us destroy them from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be had no more 
in remembrance: so shall they change their glory and be like unto us; then will we go to the 

So runs a Jewish record. The bishop, Engelbert, who received at his palace the wretched 
survivors of the massacre of Treves, greeted them with the words: "Wretches, your sins have 
come upon you: ye who have blasphemed the Son of God and calumniated his mother. This is 
the cause of your present miseries — this, if ye persist in your obduracy, will destroy you body 
and soul forever." Some in despair accepted baptism as the price of life, but most refused to be 
"defiled by the proud waters." Fathers rather killed their wives and daughters, brother slew 

Barely had the first tempest of destruction passed over, than another succeeded it. The fanatical 
cry of Hep! Hep! — Hierosolyma estperdita (Jerusalem is lost) — rang again through the land. 
R. Joseph ben Joshua ben Meir records in his Chronicles: 

That year (1 146) was also unto the house of Jacob a time of sorrow and oppression, 
of emptiness, desolation and destruction.... For the priest Rudolph came into the land 
of Ashkenaz (Germany) to search out, and to mark with the warp and the 


woof (the red cruciform cloth badge of the crusaders) those which would join 
themselves to go unto Jerusalem. And he spake falsehood against the Jews, the remnant 
which was left from the first persecution.... And in all places he passed through, he 
stirred up the dogs in them, saying: "Avenge ye our Lord's vengeance on his enemies 
who are before us: after that we shall go." And when the Jews heard it ... they cried unto 
the Lord, and said: 

"Alas, O Lord! behold fifty years, like the years of a Jubilee, have not passed by, since 
our blood was spilt like water for the sanctification of Thy great, mighty and fearful 
Name, in the day of the great slaughter. If Thou forsake us forever, what wilt Thou do 
for Thy great Name? Wilt Thou appoint misery a second time?" And the Lord heard 
their cry, and remembered His covenant ... And He sent after this Belial, the Abbot, St. 
Bernard of Clairvaux, a city which is in Tzarphath (France). And he called also after 


their manner, saying: "Come, let us to up unto Zion, to the sepulchre of their Messiah; 
but take ye heed that ye speak to the Jews neither good nor bad; for whoever toucheth 
them is like as if he touched the apple of the eye of Jesus: for they are his flesh and his 
bone...." And he took no ransom of the Jews, for he spake good of Israel from his 
heart .... If it had not been for the compassion of the Lord in sending this priest, there 
would have none escaped nor remained of them. Blessed be He who ransometh and 
delivereth! Amen.'"^^ 

Bernard wrote many letters in defence of the Jews, in one of which the Archbishop of Mainz, 
he asks: "Does not the Church obtain a richer victory over the Jews by daily bringing them over 
from their errors and converting them, than if by the sword she had destroyed them all at a 

On through the Second and Third Crusades the trail of Jewish ruin runs, of which it is needless 
further here to speak. 

It is mercy to record that only one Jewish convert to Christianity turned against his brethren in 
this time of terror — Nicholas Donin of Paris. So far as Judaism was concerned he was a free- 
thinker, almost as heinous an offence to the Jew as becoming a Christian, and he rejected the 
Oral Law as enshrined in the Talmud. For the years he lay under a ban of rabbinical 
excommunication put upon him by the famous R. Jehiel of Paris. During those years he nursed 
his grievances and become increasingly embittered against his co-religionists. At length he was 
persuaded to embrace 


Christianity, and his motive in so doing seems to have been one of revenge. We have to deal here 
with a warped soul, not a true convert. Donin' s actions after his "conversion" show only too 
clearly the state of his mind. His harsh words are believed to have instigated the crusaders to a 
massacre of the Jews in which 3,000 persons perished, and some 500 accepted the alternative of 
baptism. He joined the Franciscan order, and as a monk he pursued his further design to destroy 
all copies of the Talmud to which he had for so long been opposed. It is probable that this object 
was indeed his main reason for adopting Christianity. In A.D. 1238 he went to Rome, and there 
laid charges of blasphemy against the Talmud before Pope Gregory IX. The accusations were 
accepted, and copies of Donin' s indictment under thirty- five heads were sent to Church 
authorities with instructions that all copies of the Talmud should be seized forthwith, and if the 
matter complained of appeared, the books were to be burned. 

In France, Donin' s native country, the order was carried out with great ruthlessness, and the 
King, Louis IX, even ordered Donin' s old enemy, R. Jehiel of Paris, together with three others, 
Moses of Coucy, Judah ben David of Melun, and Samuel ben Solomon of Chateau-Thierry to 
meet him in a public disputation (1240). When the arguments on both sides had been heard, 
Donin was held to have proved his case, and no less than twenty-four wagon-loads of Talmuds 
and Commentaries thereon were publically burnt. This, before the age of printing, was a terrible 
blow to the Jews; but the venerable R. Jehiel, it is said, continued his talmudic lectures, reciting 
his authorities from memory. 

The Western Disputations, which have now to be considered, were of a different order to those 
held in eastern countries in that they were held by command of the secular and religious 


authorities, and the Jews were not voluntary participants. As a rule, we are thankful to say, the 
Jewish Christians, who were the prime movers in these engagements, were of a different quality 
to Nicholas Donin. 

Nevertheless, the temper of the times, as we have elsewhere stated, did not always permit of 
that mildness of demeanor and conciliatory spirit which should have been brought to the 
discussion of sacred subjects. We cannot blame the Jewish Christian protagonists overmuch 
when we find them lacking in a tolerance which was equally absent from some of the most 
sainted Christians of their day, as well as from their Jewish opponents 


in debate. Severity seemed to go hand in hand with sweetness, and harshness with humanity. It is 
difficult to understand how the same fountain could send out both bitter and sweet waters; but we 
must accept the fact, and not try to confuse the issue by regarding the circumstances from our 
own more enlightened viewpoint. Of one sin, perhaps, the Jewish Christians of medieval times 
were as guilty as some of them are today, the sin of arrogance, as if their safer state backed by 
the powerful authority of the Church gave them the right to address their own kinsman in a 
derogatory and contemptuous way. All the more credit is due to those Jewish rabbis who were 
required to answer them in the presence of ecclesiastical authority with the knowledge that a too 
frankness of speech might be visited on their heads in dire punishment, and that at the least they 
were fighting to retain the faith with which they were satisfied against a threat of compulsory 

Less than twenty- five years elapsed from the date of Donin' s dispute with R. Jehiel before a 
second took place, this time between the convert Pablo Christiani and the famous R. Nahmanides 
in the presence of James I of Aragon and his court. 

Christiani hailed from Montpellier in France, and after his conversion became a monk of the 
Dominican order. He was in great favor with his general, Raymond de Penyaforte, and after an 
abortive missionary campaign among the Jews of Province, he desired to make a further effort in 
Aragon. He felt that if the presence of the Jewish religious heads was assured, he would have a 
better chance of success. Raymond de Penyaforte, therefore, obtained the consent of the king, 
and Nahmanides and some others were summoned to a public disputation at Barcelona, held in 
the palace from July 20 to 24, 1263. The terms of the debate were threefold: 

[1] Whether the Messiah has appeared. 

[2] Whether the Messiah announced by the Prophets was to be considered as a god, or 
as a man born of human parents. 

[3] Whether the Jews or Christians are in possession of the true faith. 

Christiani' s method was to carry the war into the enemy's camp, and to attempt to prove from 
the Talmud itself that Christianity was true. But he was no match for the skilled talmudist who 
opposed him, and Nahmanides completely disarmed the attack by expressing his own disbelief in 
the Haggadic (homiletic) passages in the Talmud on which Christiani 


relied. The rabbi was cautioned by the Jews about following up the attack as likely to lead to 
trouble, but intrepidly, with the king's permission, he carried on, and certainly had the better of 
the discussion, as a typical passage on the Trinity shows: 


Fra Pablo asked me — wrote Nahmanides ~ whether I beheved in the Trinity. I said 
to him, "What is the Trinity? Do three great human bodies constitute the Divinity?" 
"No." "Or are there three ethereal bodies, such as the souls, or are there three 
angels?" "No." "Or is an object composed of the four elements?" "No." "What then 
in the Trinity?" He said: "Wisdom, will and power." Then I said: "I also acknowledge 
that God is wise and not foolish, that He has a will unchangeable, and that He is 
mighty and not weak. But the term Trinity is decidedly erroneous; for wisdom is not 
accidental in the Creator, since He and His wisdom are one. He and His will are one. 
He and His power are one, so that wisdom, will and power are one. Moreover, even 
were these things accidental in Him, that which is called God would not be three 
beings, but one Being with these three accidental attributes." Our lord the king here 
quoted an analogy which the erring ones had taught him, saying, that there are also 
three things in wine, namely, color, taste and bouquet, yet it is still one thing. This is a 
decided error; for the redness, the taste and the bouquet of the wine are distinct 
essences, each of them potentially self-existent; for there are red, white, and other 
colors, and the same statement holds good with regard to taste and bouquet. The 
redness, the taste and the bouquet, moreover, are not the wine itself, but the thing 
which fills the vessel, and which is, therefore, a body with the three accidents. 
Following this course of argument, there would be four, since the enumeration should 
include God, His wisdom. His will, and His power, and these are four. You would 
even have to speak of five things; for He lives, and His life is apart of Him just as 
much as His wisdom. Thus the definition would be — God, living, wise, endowed 
with will, and mighty; the Divinity would therefore be five-fold in nature. All this, 
however, is an evident error. Then Fra Pablo arose and said that he believed in the 
Unity, which, none the less, included the Trinity, although this was an exceedingly 
deep mystery, which event the angels and the 


princes of heaven could not comprehend. I arose amd said: "It is evident that a person 
does not believe what he does not know: therefore, the angels do not believe in the 
Trinity." His colleagues then bade him be silent.'** 

In spite of Nahmanides' able reasoning, the Dominicans claimed the victory, and Nahmanides 
was forced in his own defence to publish the proceedings. The matter did not rest there, however, 
for Christiani, securing a copy of the work, marked certain passages as blasphemous. A formal 
complaint was made to the king which resulted in die burning of the pamphlet and a two-years 
exile of its author. 

Pablo Christiani further obtained a bull from Pope Clement IV (1264) for a censorship of the 
Talmud, and himself sat on the commission appointed to expunge offending passages. On the 
same commission sat Raymund Martini, author of that well-known polemical work against the 
Jews the Pugio Fidei (Poignard of Faith). Christiani also obtained from Louis IX of France an 
edict requiring Jews to wear distinguishing badges, which took the form of a small cloth circlet. 
Even if his misguided efforts resulted in some annoyance and distress to his own people, they 
laid the foundations of a better Christian appreciation of Jewish thought and belief 

Another Jewish Christian, but far more learned, who helped to make Jewish literature better 
known, was Abner of Burgos (1270-1348). He graduated as a physician at the early age of 


twenty-five and had a taste for the peripatetic philosophy and astrology. His conversion caused 
quite a stir in the Judaeo-Spanish communities, and curiously in a Hebrew essay Iggeret ha- 
Gezerah (Epistle of Fate) addressed to a Jewish friend, he attempted in part to justify his action 
on the ground of planetary influence. Abner was a prolific writer, and among his works which 
have been preserved, either in Hebrew or Spanish, are the following: Moreh Tzedck (Teacher of 
Righteousness), T'shubot al-Sepher Milhamot Adonai le-Kimhi (Reply to Kimhi's Book on the 
Wars of the Lord). La Concordia de las Leyes (Harmony of the Laws, i.e., of Moses with the 
Gospels). Libro de las Tres Gracias (Book of the Three Graces), and Minhat Kenaot (Offering of 
Jealousy). He was appointed Sacristan of the Metropolitan Church of Valladolid. 

Nearly a century after the disputation of Barcelona, another took place at Burgos, where the 
protagonists were on the one side a Jewish Christian convert of Abner of Burgos and the Jewish 
Christian John of Valladolid, and on the other side, Moses haCohen of Tordesillas. The 


was held in the presence of Archbishop Gomez of Toledo. 

John of Valladolid (b. 1335) attempted to demonstrate from the Bible, the Messiahship and 
Divinity of Jesus, the dogma of the Trinity and other doctrines. He employed some extraordinary 
methods of exegesis, claiming, for instance, that the closed letter "mem" in the Hebrew word 
I'marebeh (Isa. 9:6) "of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end" 
indicated the perpetual virginity of Mary. 

The disputation was a wind-up to a preaching tour of the Castilian provinces under an order 
given by King Henry of Castile, whereby John hoped to be able to persuade his own people of 
the truth of Christianity if the Jews were compelled to listen to him. He made the mistake, so 
often repeated, of basing his argument on petty points of hermeneutics instead of on the wider 
sweep of the evangelical message. The Jewish rabbis were easily able to evade the real issue 
when it came to a battle of texts and the construction of words. 

By far the most important of the disputations was that which occupied sixty- nine sessions, and 
lasted from February 1413 to November 1414. It was held at Tortosa in Aragon, in the presence 
of the antipope Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) and a large gathering of dignitaries both of the 
Church and Synagogue. The solemn convocation had been convened to hear the convert Joshua 
ben Joseph ibn Vives Al Lorqui (Geronimo de Santa Fe). Supporting him was the Jewish 
Christian Andreas Baltram, afterwards Bishop of Barcelona. On the Jewish side, ready to answer 
such questions as were put to them, were twenty-two (the Jewish records only give sixteen 
names) of the most distinguished rabbis and scholars of Aragon under the leadership of Don 
Vidal ben Benvenista. Benedict welcomed them in these words: 

Men of the honored Hebrew race, the people whom God selected, though now cast 
off on account of transgression. Fear nothing in this disputation, when I the Pope bid 
you be of good courage. None shall injure or molest you, but speak freely and boldly 
for your cause, repressing and fearing nothing. Geronimo has boasted to me his 
capability of proving, even from your Talmud, that Messiah is come. Fear not in 
disputing with him, but freely open your minds, because in a controversy, both parties 
ought to enjoy an equal right of speech, and be accounted of equal standing. '"^^ 

In Joshua Al Lorqui, Christianity had a worthy Jewish 



representative. He was a man of great attainments, a physician and dialectician of no 
mean skill. His conversion came about as a result of correspondence with another great 
Jewish Christian, Paul of Burgos, of whom we shall speak presently, and with wham he 
remonstrated for changing his faith. He devoted his talents and wealth to convincing his 
people of their errors, and received from them the unmerited nickname of Megaddef 
(the slanderer) from the initials of his baptismal name Maestro Gcronimo de Santa Fe. 
His best known work is his Probationes N.T. ex V.T. per qiias doctinia Talmud 
improbitur, et dicitur liber contra errores Judceorum. 

The disputation was carried on in a much better spirit. It had been agreed beforehand that all 
disputed meanings were to be submitted to Baltram for decision, on account of his acknowledged 
Hebrew and Chaldee scholarship. At the end, all but two of the Jewish disputants signed a 
declaration that they had been fairly beaten, and more than five thousand Jews accepted Christ 
and were baptized. The Jewish records are ominously silent about the result. 

These discussions had one very important outcome. It was largely due to them that the 
practice, carried on chiefly by the Dominicans, of compelling attendance at missionary meetings 
originated. A decree of James II of Aragon (Dec. 18, 1297) is in these terms: 

We also desire and ordain, that the brethren of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) 
do offer the Word of God to the Jews and Saracens of both sexes, by preaching, 
arguments, conversation, or declaration of the Christian faith. These shall assemble at 
their call, and listen without interruption to the preaching. Also, to avoid the possibility 
of their suppressing the conviction of the truth by stubborn silence, they shall 
reverently answer to the interrogations or objections of the said brethren; they shall also 
be compelled, when desired, to give access to their books for the investigation of any 
matters, that so the truth may be the better sifted by a mutual exhibition and collation of 
writings, and thus be brought to more open light. 

Whether or no the practice was a wise one is difficult to judge at this interval of time. The Jews 
could hardly be expected to make a voluntary audience. But this at least must be said in favor of 
the method; it gave opportunity to the Jewish religious leaders to offer publicly a clear statement 
of their faith with full liberty of speech, under safeguards, before 


Gentile ecclesiastics who were deeply ignorant of Judaism. It helped to make patent to the most 
bigoted that the Jew was a thinking sentient human being with a deep religious consciousness, 
and not a godless pariah, whom to slay was a Christian service. It substituted the argument of 
reason for stupid cruelty and lust. The age of disputations marks a definite turning point in the 
treatment of the Jews, which was to head up to humanism. 

From that time, massacres gradually ceased, at least in civilized countries, and the ghetto walls, 
if they isolated, also protected the son of Abraham. Jewish Christianity, albeit unwittingly, had 
saved Israel from some of the more terrible aspects of anti-Semitism. 



Chapter XIII 


Despite the general antipathy to the Jews in the Middle Ages, many of them were allowed to 
hold high offices of slate, especially those who had accepted the Christian faith. Neither did the 
most noble houses disdain to give their daughters in marriage to eminent Jewish Christians. 
Baptism appeared to exercise an almost magical power in removing the Semitic "taint," so that 
while the genius of the Hebrew remained and guided the policies of many parts of Europe, the 
Jewish flesh and blood which had inherited that genius underwent a metamorphosis, and the 
supposed injurious qualities were neutralized. As the conversions during this period, whether 
compulsory or real, were numerous, it came about that in the principal Jewish centers, and 
especially in Spain, few of the patrician families could say that they had not Jewish blood in their 
veins. As late as the eighteenth century in Portugal, when King Joseph I thought of publishing an 
edict commanding all who were of Jewish descent to wear a yellow cap, his minister the Marquis 
de Pambal presented himself before the monarch with three of the caps. "What are these for?" 
inquired the king. "One is for your Majesty, one for the Grand Inquisitor, and one is for myself" 
was Pambal' s reply. The pure Aryan ancestry demanded by modem Germany, would practically 
exclude the whole German population if traced back far enough. The ridiculous side of the Nazi 
inquisition is exposed by a story they tell. Little Red Riding Hood is walking in the Grunewald, 
when she meets the wolf "Where are you going?" asks the wolf "To look for my grandmother," 
replies Red Riding Hood. "Ah!" says the wolf, slyly, "there are many people hooking for their 
grandmothers these days." Even the royal house of the Hapsburgs, tracing its ancestry through 
the Counts of Aventin to the Pierleonis, would be of Jewish Christian origin. 

It is instructive to follow the fortunes of two eminent Jewish Christian families, who may be 
taken as representing — the Pierleonis of Italy, just mentioned, and the Carthagenas of Spain. 

The Pierleoni family was founded in the eleventh century by one Baruch, a wealthy Jewish 
banker of Rome. On becoming a Christian, he latinized his name to Benedictus Christianus and 
married the daughter of a Roman nobleman. His son Leo de Benedicto Christiano became a 
powerful figure in Roman political life, affiliating himself with the papal 


party, and owning a castle in Trastevere. His epitaph quoted by Baronius under the year A.D. 
1111 shows the esteem in which he was held. It is noticeable that the Jewish side of his paternity 
is omitted in the epitaph, only his noble Roman mother is mentioned.''*'^ 

Leo's son, Petrus Leonis, from whom the family took its name of Pierleoni, was even more 
distinguished and appears to have attained the rank of consul. This Petrus Leonis continued his 
father's policy, controlling the Isola Tiberina in addition to the castle in Trastevere, and having 
another castle opposite the Tiber bridge near the old theater of Marcellus, which was included in 
the fortifications. He was the leader of the papal party and the most faithful and powerful 
protector of the popes. Urban II died in Petrus' castle, and the latter defended the cause of 
Paschal II against the antipopes and the emperor. When Henry V came to Rome, Petrus Leonis 
was at the head of the papal legation which effected a reconciliation between the pope and the 
emperor, but Paschal 's attempt to make the son of Petrus prefect of the city caused a riot.^'*^ 

Petrus assisted in the liberation of Pope Gelasius II, and took a prominent part in the election 


of Calixtus II. The latter pope signified his recognition of this service, by appointing his son 
Petrus Pierleoni, head of the papal legation to France, and afterwards using him for several 
important missions. Petrus died in 1 128, having seen his son created Cardinal Pierleoni, and a 
daughter married to King Roger of Sicily. 

Two years later a remarkable event happened. On the throne of the Jewish Christian, apostle 
Peter, sat another Jewish Christian of the same name — Petrus, Cardinal Pierleoni, had been 
elected pope as Anacletus II. There was opposition, for a rival faction at Rome had elected 
Innocent II. Anacletus was vilified by his enemies, who even accused him of incest. The 
Archbishop of Ravenna stigmatized his tenure of office as, '' Judaicce perifidoi heresis'' (the 
heresy of Jewish unbelief): but even so saintly a man as St Bernard of Clairvaaux, who upheld 
the claims of Innocent, and was not unfriendly to the Jews, did not realize the irony of his remark 
in an epistle to Lothair, that "to the shame of Christ, a man of Jewish origin was come to occupy 
the chair of St. Peter." Despite calumination, however, Anacletus remained in office until his 
death in 1138. Afterwards the Pierleoni family made peace with the rival party. 

So many honors heaped upon its members might be thought to have sufficed for any one family: 
but further distinction was to follow, for a brother of Anacletus, Jordan Pierleoni, was elected 
Senator, and a little 


later as Patricius became in 1 144 head of the Roman Republic. So, for a time in this Jewish 
Christian house, Rome and Jerusalem were reconciled. In the same century, another brother, Leo 
Pierleoni, was papal delegate at Sutir (1 142) together with a nephew, Petrus. Cencius Pierleoni, 
some years afterwards, was scriniarius of the Church, and John Pierlecni was appointed Elector 
by Pope Innocent III, and in this capacity chose Gregory Petri Leonis Rainerii as Senator, The 
family continued to extend its influence for many subsequent generations. 

The second family with which we are concerned is that of the Carthagenas in Spain, founded 
by the celebrated Rabbi Solomon Halevi, afterwards Bishop Paul of Burgos. 

Solomon Halevi, son of Isaac Halevi, was bom at Burgos about 1351, and became one of the 
wealthiest men of that city, besides being deeply learned in the Talmudic literature. He officiated 
as Rabbi of Burgos and was highly praised for his scholarship and piety by Isaac ben Sheshet 
with whom he carried on a lengthy correspondence.''*'* Abarbanel also, in his commentary on 
Isaiah 34, calls him a wise man. In 1376 he married, and his wife bore him four sons and one 
daughter. When in his fortieth year he began a serious study of the claims of Christianity, being 
led thereto by his intercourse with Christians and the loan to hin by a friend of Thomas Aquinas' 
treatise De Legibus. He was induced to notice the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, 
especially Jeremiah 31, and from this point he went on to read the New Testament, and 
particularly the Pauline Epistles. It was these that finally brought about his conversion, as he 
afterwards said, ''Paulus me adfindim convertit'' 

On July 21, 1390, Solomon was publicly baptized in the Cathedral of Burgos, together with 
his mother and children, and took the name of Paul de Santa Maria: his brothers Pedro Suarez 
and Alvaar Garcia were also baptized, but his wife Joanna, whom he dearly loved, would not 
then be convinced, and he was forced for a time to separate from her. She was reconciled later, 
and when she died in 1420 was buried in the Church of S. Pablo, built by her husband. 

Forty years of age as he was, well versed in philosophy and theology. Paul did not disdain to 

sit among the young theological students of Paris to acquire his Doctorate of Divinity. On one 
occasion at this time, he was privileged to preach before Pedro de Luna, afterwards Pope 
Benedict XIII. 

After Paris came a visit to London, from which city he sent to Don Meir Alguades a Hebrew 
satire on the Jewish feast of Purim. Returned to his 


native land, he was soon appointed Archdeacon of Trevino and in 1402 was made Bishop of 
Carthgena, having been for three years Canon of Seville. He had not forgotten his own people, 
and through his instrumentality, many Jews were won for Christ, including the famous Dr. 
Joshua Al-Lorqui, already mentioned. As the Spanish chronicles say, '' copiosas frutos de 
conversione'" were granted to him. 

By this time the fame of his learning and Christian piety had reached the ears of King Henry 
III of Castile, the invalid, who, on his death appointed Paul by will Keeper of the Royal Seal in 
succession to Don Pedro Lopez de Ayala, and tutor of his infant son and successor, John II: he 
was also made a member of the Council of Regency with the Queen-Mother Donna Catalina and 
the Infante Don Fernando during the young king's minority. He continued in high favor at court, 
and rendered important state service until his death. 

In 1414, the Archbishopric of Burgos fell vacant, and Paul was appointed to the seat. It was a 
great day of rejoicing in the city of Burgos when the new Bishop came with bells ringing to his 
palace in the place of his birth. Among those who awaited him there were his old mother, Maria, 
and his now believing wife, Joanna. These were not long spared to him, however, for his mother 
died in 1416 and his wife in 1420. He himself lived on until April 29, 1435, and saw with pride 
his son Alfonso elevated to his own bishopric during his lifetime. He died at the advanced age of 
eighty-three, and was buried in the family vault that he had built. 

The saintly man left a testament to his son that speaks well for the sincerity of his faith and 
his deep devotion to the service of Christ. As it is the fullest personal memorial of any Jewish 
Christian of this period, we may usefully quote a fairly lengthy extract. 

What would you most wish, my dearly beloved son, that I should leave as a 
legacy to you at my death? What could be better than to add to the knowledge you 
already possess of Holy Scripture, which will strengthen your feet in the path of a 
well directed zeal for Christian truth? 

It is this which I bear in my heart, of which I make confession with my lips, and 
concerning which I understand the words of the prophet "The father shall teach 
his children thy truth." 

I was not myself thus taught in the days of my youth, but was brought up in 
Jewish blindness and incredulity; while learning Holy Scripture from 


unsanctified teachers, I received erroneous opinions from erring men, who cloud 
the pure letter of Scripture by impure inventions, as such teachers have been wont 
to do. But when it pleased Him whose mercies are infinite to call me from 
darkness to light, and from the depth of the pit to the open air of heaven, the 
scales seemed as it were to fall from the eyes of my understanding, and I began to 


read Holy Scripture with my mind in part released from the bonds of prejudice 
and unbelief I began to seek for truth, no longer trusting to the power of my own 
intellect, but with a humbled spirit, praying God from the heart to make known to 
me what might be for the salvation of my soul. Day and night I sought help from 
Him, and thus it came to pass that my love for the Christian faith so much 
increased, that at length I was able openly to confess the belief which my heart 
had already received. Afterwards, as time passed on, I devoted myself yet more to 
the study of Holy Scripture, reading both the Testaments, hearing the words of 
living teachers, and consulting the writings of holy men, our predecessors: thus I, 
who was formerly a teacher of error, am become, by the grace of God, a learner of 
truth, and have continued to the great age I have now attained. I can say in truth 
that amid the pressure of worldly business, and the cares of my bishopric, which 
have occupied much of my time, there is no consolation to be compared to that I 
have found in the contemplation of the Eternal God by the study of His holy and 
spotless word. 

One circumstance, however, I cannot pass over in silence, that to us, the 
descendants of Levi, have been fulfilled the promises written so many hundreds 
of years ago: "Wherefore there shall not be for the Levite a portion or inheritance 
among his brethren: the Lord Himself is his inheritance, as the Lord thy God has 
said to him." Truly God Himself is our inheritance. Christ is our portion, who has 
said of old time that He shall cleanse the sons of Levi and purify them, and they 
should be the Lord's, to present this offering, which He will not only look upon, 
but accept at our hands. It is useful and necessary that you should know alt the 
mercies of my God towards me, and a true and sincere memorial of them cannot 
be taxed with pride. To you, in particular. I address these recollections, that what 
you have not seen with your eyes may yet be engraven on your memory as 
coming from the lips of your father, that in your turn you may tell those who are 
younger than you, and they to their descendants, not to forget the 


words of the Lord nor cease from the study of His Holy Word. 

LaFuente says of Paul of Burgos, that he was, "the most eminent and the wisest man that 
Spain produced in the fifteenth century, and he may also be regarded as the most eminent in the 
Church." It is difficult to imagine that such a man could be associated with the twenty-four harsh 
enactments against the Jews issued by the Council of Regency in 1412 in the name of the 
youthful King John, and one must look to the arrogant bearing of some of the local Jewish 
magnates for extenuating circumstances. That he loved his own brethren cannot be doubted, and 
in his best known work, Dialogus Pauli et Sauli Contra JudcBos, sive Scrutinium Scripturarum 
he wrote: 

As for the remnant of Israel, which shall remain at the coming of Christ, we 
firmly believe that when the delusion of Antichrist has been made manifest, they 
will turn in truth to the Messiah, and for his sake endure much persecution, 
continuing to the end steadfast in the faith .... Thus at last shall the whole nation 
of Israel be brought to the faith in Christ. 

He thus shows himself to have had the same hope as his apostolic namesake, whom also in 


other respects he so closely resembled, Paul is further remembered for his Addenda to the 
Postills of the Bible of Nicolas de Lyra. 

Paul of Burgos was worthily followed by his four sons. The second, Don Alfonso de 
Carthagena (1385-1456), first studied law and philosophy, and was made successively Deacon of 
Santiago and Segovia, Archdeacon of Composstella, and eventually as we have seen followed 
his father as Bishop of Burgos. Together with this elder brother Don Gonzalo Garcia de Santa 
Maria, he represented Spain at the Council of Basle (143 1), and was treated with great respect 
for his learning. He was spoken of as "the joy of Spain and the delight of religion." At one time. 
Pope Eugenius IV, hearing that he was about to pay a visit to Rome, remarked in full conclave 
"that in the presence of such a man he felt ashamed to be seated in the chair of St. Peter." Don 
Alfonso published numerous works including: A Chronicle of the Kings of Spain, a treatise on 
Christian morality, entitled Instruction for Knights and Memorials of Virtue, translations of 
several books of Seneca and Cicero into Spanish, and a commentary on the twenty-sixth Psalm. 

The eldest brother, Don Gonzalo Garcia de Santa Maria (1379-1448), was hardly less 
distinguished. He was a student both or the classics and 


of rabbinical literature. Gonzalo represented Aragon at the Councils of Basle and Constance. He 
was in turn Archdeacon of Briviesca, Bishop of Astorga, Bishop of Placentia, and Bishop of 

The third son, Alvar Garcia deSanta Maria, was for some time secretary to John II of Castile, 
and later to John's uncle, Don Fernando, on his becoming King of Aragon. He wrote the 
Chronicles of John II down to the year 1420. 

The fourth son, Pedro de Carthagena, did not enter the Church, but is known as a noble 
knight and courageous soldier. At a tournament held in the presence of King John of Castile, he 
won the prize in jousting with the flower of Spanish chivalry. He was one of the knights who 
played a valiant part at the battle of Granada, 143 1 . Don Pedro occupied the position of member 
of the municipality (the Cortes) of Burgos, and as late as the eighteenth century, according to Da 
Costa, the family, perpetuated through him, "still preserved in Spain the rank and high esteem 
which their ancestors formerly obtained. "'"^^ 

During the civil war which took place in the reign of Henry IV of Castile, the Carthagenas 
sided with the Velascos, Counts of Haro, against the Manricos, Counts of Trevino. In one of the 
skirmishes, Don Alvar de Carthagena, son of Don Pedro, was killed. 

Such in brief is the record of these two distinguished Jewish Christian families who faithfully 
served their day and generation. 

During this period, we hear little of Jewish Christians in the Eastern Church, but undoubtedly 
there were a considerable number among the Nestorians and Jacobites. One name, however, is 
outstanding of a man who was greatly honored by his contemporaries and is still held in the 
highest esteem, Gregory Abu'l Faraj, surnamed Bar-Hebraeus, Maphrian (Primate) of the 
Eastern Church. 


Bom at Melitena in 1226, Gregory was the son of a Jewish physician name Aaron, who 
seems to have embraced Christianity. In his early childhood he already gave promise of 
greatness, and besides mastering the Greek, Syriac and Arabic languages, he also studied 
philosophy, theology and medicine. His father was instrumental in curing a disease from which 
Saurnavinus, a Tartar general, was suffering; and this led to the migration of the family to 
Antioch. Here Gregory commenced the life of an anchorite, and was visited in his cave by Mar 
Ignatius, Patriarch of Saba, 


who was to become his great friend and supporter. It was Ignatius who ordained him Bishop of 
Gubos, on September 14, 1246, when he was only twenty years of age. After many other 
preferments, it was Ignatius again who created him Maphrian of the eastern Church with his scat 
at Tagrit on the Tigris, about A.D. 1266. 

W.E.W. Carr in a short biography'^" writes of Gregory that: 

During his forty years' episcopate, he was never known to have received a 
farthing from anyone. When the faithful brought purses of money to him as a 
means of expressing their thanks, he always refused to receive them, and if they 
were left in his chamber he would always say to the first of his disciples who 
happened to come: "Take these things out of my sight." 

He possessed the Jewish whole-heartedness and love of thoroughness in the discharge of his 
work. He was a man whose religious zeal was founded upon conviction which had only taken 
root in his soul after the deepest upheavals and fierce struggles with despair and unbelief He 
knew how to tackle the most delicate situations in the spirit of the true gentleman. He was 
possessed of a saving sense of humor and knew the importance of the occasional relaxation of 
the mind from the strain imposed by work and study. While his own mind was clear and resolute 
on the matter of the doctrine and discipline of the church, theological and ecclesiastical disputes 
were his abomination. 

Gregory was very much impressed with the way in which his life seemed to have been 
marked out in exact periods. "The year in which Saturn and Jupiter were in conjunction in 
Aquarius," he wrote, "was that in which I was born. Again, twenty years later, when they were in 
conjunction in Libra, I was consecrated Bishop. After another twenty years, when they were in 
conjunction in Gemini, I attained the rank of Maphrian, and after another twenty years, when 
they are again in conjunction in Aquarius, I think my time has come to depart this life." Nor was 
he mistaken, for he passed away on July 30, 1286. His last words to his disciples were: "Abide in 
love, and be not separated from each other, for when ye are gathered together in charity, I will be 
in the midst of you." His funeral at Maraga was on a vast scale, all shops were closed, and 
everyone vied with the other to pay him a last tribute. The sterling qualities of his mind have 
been perpetuated in a whole catalogue of scholarly works, of which perhaps the best known are 
his Syriac Chronicle and his Syriac Grammar. 



Chapter XIV 


Honors did not always reward the Jewish converts, and in some countries they were deprived 
of all their possessions on baptism. This was because as Christians, they ceased to be lawful prey 
of the ruler. The test at least established the sincerity of their professions of faith, but it 
frequently left them in the direst poverty. The situation led in England to the establishment of 
that interesting institution the Domus Conversorum, or Converts Home. The first of its kind 
appears to have been built in the neighborhood of Southwark by Richard of Bermondsey in 
1213 : it was known as "The Hospital of Converts." Later, there was a Domus both in Oxford and 
London founded by Henry III, the former about 1234 and the London house some two years 

Wood (City of Oxford) speaks of the Oxford Domus as: 

a place for those Jews and infidels that were converted to the Christian faith in 
Oxon to reside in and have sufficient maintenance from the King and other pious 
well-disposed people. In a short time after it was so brought about and no small 
number of these converts had their abode in this place and were taught and 
instructed in the doctrine of the church, and had an orthodox and learned priest to 
govern them. Mention of these converted people I often find in records stiled by the 
sir-name le convers and, more particularly, in St Frideswyde's register wherein in 
divers charters there be the names of Eve convers, Eilliam le convers and Nicholas 
le convers and Ailb le convers and the like. 

The Home was situated near what is now Blue Boar Street. 

Of far greater importance and with a long and eventful history was the London Domus. The 
original Charter of Henry III (translated from the Latin) runs as follows: 

The king to the archbishops, etc., greeting. Be it known that we, by the institution of 
God, and for the safety of our soul, and of the souls of our predecessors and of our 
heirs, have granted, and by this our charter confirmed for us and for our heirs to the 
house which we caused to be built in the street which is called New Street, between 
the old and new temple of London, for the maintenance of the converted brethren, 
and those to be converted from Judaism to the Catholic faith, and for the aid of the 


maintenance of these brethren that dwelt in the said house, the houses and lands 
which belonged to John Herberton, in London, and are in our possession as 
forfeited (except the garden which belonged to the said John in the aforesaid New 
Street, and which we granted formerly by our charter to the venerable Father 
Rudolph, of Chichester, our Chancellor), and all other forfeitures which in our time, 
by felony, or from any other cause, will fall to us in our city, or in the suburbs of 
our city, London. Wherefore we wish, and firmly injoin for us and for our heirs, that 
the aforesaid house have and hold freely, and quietly, and in peace, for the 
maintenance of the converted brethren, and those to be converted from Judaism to 
the Catholic faith, in aid for the maintenance of these brethren that dwell in the 
same house, the houses and lands which belonged to John Herberton, in London, 


and are in our possession, as if our forfeiture (except the garden which belonged to 
the same John in the aforesaid street, New Street and which formerly by our charter 
we granted to the venerable Father Rudolph, Bishop of Chichester, our Chancellor), 
and all other forfeitures which in our time, by felony, or from whatever other 
causes, will fall to us in our city, London, as we have beforesaid, etc.'^' 

The street in which the Domus was situated eventually became Chancery Lane, and the 
building itself finally came to be used as a storehouse for the rolls of Chancery, and its chapel 
became the Rolls Chapel. For a considerable period, from about 1330, the office of Master of the 
Rolls was combined with wardenship of the Jewish Converts' Home, and in these capacities 
Thomas Cromwell, vicar-general of Henry VIII, resided there. Had the. Domus continued to 
function into the nineteenth century, a professing Jew, Sir George Jessel, made Master of the 
Rolls in 1873, would have been its warden. By this time, however, the buildings had been 
demolished, and an Act of 1891 removed the last legal traces of its functions. 

During the long period of the Home's activities numerous Jewish Christians of both sexes 
were inmates, and one, Martin, son of Henry Woodstock (1413-1468) lived there for fifty-five 
years. Two women, a mother and her daughter ~ Joanna and Alice of Dartmouth, who came to 
the Home in 1409, remained for nearly as long, forty and forty-five years respectively. The 
number of Jewish Christians who availed themselves 


of the protection of the Domus from the date of its foundation ran into several hundreds, and 
among the more interesting names mentioned in the records are the following: 

Elizabeth, daughter of Rabbi Moses ''episcopus Judaiorum" 1339. Remained seventeen 
years and married a London tailor named David Pole. 

John de Santa Maria (1371-1405). Perhaps a relative of the Bishop of Burgos. 

Nathaniel (formerly Jehudah) Menda (1598-1608). He hailed from the Barbary States, and 
was publicly baptized in London by John Foxe, author of The Book of Martyrs. 

Philip Ferdinand from Poland (1598-1600). He had been professor of Hebrew at Oxford and 
Cambridge, and later of Leyden University. 

The records end in 1608, though as late as 1717 a Jewish Christian of London petitioned 
King George I for a grant from the funds oi Domus. From the time of the expulsion of the Jews 
from England in 1290 until their restoration by the Protector Oliver Cromwell, Jewish Christians 
were about the only Jews the citizens of London ever saw. 

The original grant to each inmate was 1 1/2 d. for males, equal today to about 2s. 6d., and Id 
for females. The total annual grant from Henry Ill's treasury was about £4,000, but this was not 
always forthcoming and the converts were in great distress. A supplementary income was 
therefore granted, raised by a poll-tax, called the chevage, on all unconverted Jews above the age 
of twelve. '^^ 

One Jew, who might have become an inmate of the Domus, was forced to leave England with 
Edward I's banishment of the Jews — Nicolas de Lyra (or Nicolas of Lynn), who was to become 
the heralds of the Reformation. ''Nicolaus Lyrannus ex Judceorum genere Anglus,'" writes Bale; 
but it is only right to state that his Jewish birth has been contested. There are good grounds, 
however, for believing that he was a Jew. Having been educated at Oxford, he went to Paris, 

where he was baptized and joined the Franciscan order at Vemeiul in 1291. Later he became 
Doctor of Theology and taught at the Sorbonne until 1325, when he was appointed Provincial of 
the Franciscans in Burgundy. Well versed in Talmudical literature, he favored the literal 
interpretation of Scripture after the method of the great Jewish commentator Rashi. For him, die 
intention of the author was the most important canon of exegesis, and he set himself in his chief 
work Postillce, Perbetuce, sive Brevia 


Commentaria in Universa Biblia to explain the Old and New Testaments on what he held to be 
the corrected principles, not sparing in the course of the work to castigate the abuses prevailing 
in the Church. These commentaries proved of such service to Martin Luther, that Pflug, Bishop 
of Naumberg. was moved to write the famous couplet: 

Is Lyra non lyrasset, 
Lutherus non saltasset. 

Other writers, after Niclas' death in 1340, made additions to the Postills, among them, as we 
have already noted being the Jewish Christian Bishop Paul of Burgos. Nicholas also wrote a 
work for his own brethren entitled, De Messia Ejusque Adventu Prceterito. 

Thus behind the Reformation, as behind almost every spiritual and political movement of 
note, one finds the personality of a Jewish Christian. 

Our history now halts for a brief space in its progress to watch the passage of a strange 
procession across the face of Europe from the Caucasian mountains to the Alps. 

When Ebionitism ceased to be an active force in Christian affairs, it bequeathed, at least its 
mantle, to whoever would protest against the trinitarian concept of the Gentile Church. Already 
in the late third century, Jewish Christianity had communicated some of its foundation and 
apostolic beliefs to the Syrian Christians. In those days flourished Paul of Samosata, Patriarch of 
Antioch, anathematized for his belief that the man Christ Jesus had attained to perfection through 
obedience, and had won through to union with God through subjugating his own will to the will 
of God. Paul wrote in his Treatise to Sabinus that 

in fixity and resoluteness of character, Jesus likened himself to God; and having 
kept himself free from sin, was united to God and was enabled to grasp the power to 
work wonders. These miracles show that over and above the will, he possessed one 
and the same activity with God; he thus won the title of Redeemer and Savior.... 

By struggle and hard work he overcame the sins of our forefathers: he succeeded in 
perfecting himself and through his moral excellence was united to God, having 
attained to unity and identity of will and activity through advances on the path of 
good works. . . . Thus he inherited the name which is above all names, the 


prize of love and affection vouchsafed to him in grace.... We do not allot praise to 
those who obey merely in virtue of their nature; but to those in good measure who 
submit because their attitude is one of love. 

This was perhaps the doctrine of the apostle Paul, who held that "Jesus was made perfect 


through the things that he suffered": certainly it was that of the Jewish Christians of the third and 
fourth centuries, who believed that by living the Christ life all men could attain to Christhood. 
From Paul of Samosata the sect of Paulicians took its name and many of its tenets, and with 
some Gnostic admixture, continued through several centuries in Armenia to propagate its 
iconoclastic and adoptionist faith. The old Jewish Christians had found a voice with which they 
might still speak through the mouths of men of another race. 

Out of the Paulicians came the Thonrake, Josephinists, Bogomils, Cathars, Albigensis, and 
Waldenses, and all their off-shoots, changing their names in their manifold manifestation, but 
scarcely their basic doctrines, as the stream of missionaries made their way through Bulgaria, 
Gosnia and Hungary, along the Carpathians to the Alps and Pyrenees. 

We may fairly regard these groups as part of one movement, a protesting movement, 
preserving alive the elemental spirit of Jewish Christianity until the Catholic Church should be 
ready again to renew its contact with its Jewish antecedents. Their Key of Truth laid emphasis on 
the baptism of Christ: "then it was that he became Savior of us sinners, and was filled with 
godhead; then was he sealed, anointed, called by the Voice, addressed as the Beloved One."'" 
They denied the pre-existence of Christ, attacked Mariolatry and Transubstantiation; their 
congregations were composed of the "elect," and it was in the power of any of their number to 
attain to Christhood. 

The Bogomil manifestation was chiefly in Bulgaria and Bosnia from the tenth to the 
thirteenth century, whence the sectaries were also known as Bulgaria or Bougres {Bulgarorum 
hceresis). Jewish converts were among its propagandists, drawn largely from the literalist Jewish 
sect of Karaites. One, a certain Zachariah of Kiev, succeeded in influencing with Jewish views 
some of the highest ecclesiastics of Russia and even the Tzar Ivan III The conversion of the 
kingdom of the Chazars to Judaism was another cause that made the slavic peoples incline 
favorably to Jewish and Cristo- Jewish doctrine. A Byzantine Jewess Sarah (Theodora) even 
became Tzarina of Bulgaria (1335-1355) as the wife of Ivan 


Alexander. She had voluntarily embraced Christianity, and according to Poppof, a Bulgarian 
ecclesiastical historian, her reign encouraged both Jews and heretics to profane icons and the 

Further west the protesting movement manifested itself a Catharism early in the eleventh 
century, with headquarters in the neighborhood of Toulouse. Here as in Bosnia and Bulgaria, the 
simplicity and earnestness of the lives of the sectaries appealed to the people in contrast to the 
pomp and worldliness of the prevailing Church. The Cathars recognized two orders, the 
credentes, the ordinary believer, and the petfecti, the elect who acted as ministers. A credens 
became aperfectuis after undergoing the rite of consolation (consolamentum), when he was 
named Peter, a common practice both in the eastern and western branches of the movements. 

In the rite of full initiation, the Perfect (who admits the novice like the Master of the 
Freemasons' lodge) delivers an address calling him (as in Armenia) by the name 
Peter, and explaining the adoption and indwelling of the Spirit in the elect. He 
repeats and comments on the Lord's Prayer clause by clause. Then comes the 
Renouncement, not only of Satan and his kingdom on earth, but of his babylonish 
church, its magical rites, carnal baptism, and the sign of the cross impressed on the 

forehead. A true spiritual baptism follows, with a book of the Gospels laid on the 
head by the Perfect's hands: and while passages of Scripture are recited, the newly 
admitted brother receives the apostolic power to bind and loose. '^"^ 

For several centuries the Cathars of Albigenses, as they came to be called from Albi a fief of 
Toulouse, carried on a losing fight with the papacy, and it is worthy of notice that the institution 
which was primarily responsible for Jewish tribulation and expulsion from Spain and Portugal — 
the Inquisition ~ was called into existence for the extermination of a heresy which owed its 
origin to Jewish Christianity. When the massacre of Piedmont put an end to the protesting 
movement a new spirit was aflame in the Church. Milton's prayer was already in course of 

"Avenge, O Lord. Thy slaughtered saints, whose bones 
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold; 
Even them who kept Thy truth so pure of old. 
When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones." 


Chapter XV 

The fifteenth century in Europe witnessed the apotheosis of clericalism. A dictatorship by 
clergy, almost more powerful than the pope, dominated the lives of kings and people. At the best 
bigoted, at the worst brutally debased, the clergy stood solidly in the way of enlightenment and 
progress. Scarcely subject to any laws but their own, they menaced the security of every state 
and individual. Every element of opposition was ruthlessly trampled down. Having suppressed 
the Cathars, they once more turned their attention to unyielding Jews. 

During the long course of centuries, the clergy acted upon one undeviating line of 
policy, uninfluenced by wars, change of dynasty, or personal feelings, to drive the 
Jews into the bosom of the Church. Since the time of Sisebut the Goth, all direct 
compulsion in the matter of baptism had been discountenanced by papal authority 
and general sentiment. But, notwithstanding the dictates of abstract right and 
reason, bishops and friars had plundered and murdered such as refused to be 
converted, while civil penalties and restrictions were likewise heaped upon the 
recusants. An exemption from all this might be purchased by enduring the 
sprinkling of a few drops of water; yet this trifle in itself, was the "crux fidei" to a 
Jew, as was the burning of a few grains of incense before a senseless idol to the 
primitive Christian, with the alternative of the lions of the amphitheater. The 
temptation was in each case intensely seductive, but the iniquity of the Spanish 
churchman, with his organized Inquisition to preclude the possibility of receding, 
was altogether unparalleled in pagan persecutions. Aware of the varied 
unrighteousness of the means employed to gain their proselytes, the end, according 
to their morality, justified the means, and murder, with every other violation of 
Christianity, was engaged to secure the retention of their unlawful seizures. '^^ 

The Christianized Jews in Spain, Portugal, and their dominions, had grown so numerous that 
they formed a distinct class by themselves ~ the New Christians, or more particularly, Marranos 
(damnned). or Mallorca, Chuetas. The latter were the products of a mass conversion effort in 
1435 after an anti-semitic uprising on account of an Eastertide blood libel accusation. Not a 
single unbaptized Jew was left on the island: but 


despite the Inquisition, the Chuetas never wholly lost the cognizance of their Jewish descent, and 
in 1932 the Mayor of Palma and nine out of the thirty Councillors were Chuetas, besides a 
considerable percentage of the population, some of whom celebrate the coming of the Friday 
evening services. It was the suspicions of the clergy that many of these New Christians secretly 
practised Jewish rites while outwardly conforming to the ordinances of the Church, suspicions in 
many cases fully justified, that led them to call in the aid of the Inquisition. 

The prime movers in the petition for Inquisitorial interference were those troublers of Israel, 
the Dominicans. The doubts and fears of Ferdinand and Isabella, then occupying the throne of 
Spain, were overcome, and the Holy Office (a travesty of holiness) was set up at Seville in 1483 
with Thomas de Torquemada, it need hardly be said, a Dominican, as Inquisitor-General. The 
avowed object of the Inquisition was the purification of the Church from heresy, but particularly 


from the pernicious doctrines of Judaism. The methods employed in "smelling ouf the crypto 
Jews would have been the wonder and envy of the African witch-doctors could they have been 
there to see it. No one was safe from the highest in the land to the lowest. Prelates and princes 
trembled for their safety, however orthodox and irreproachable their faith. 

Many of the noblest families were degraded by beholding some one of their 
members wearing the san-benito, as confessed and pardoned heretics. Though their 
chief victims were selected from those who were suspected of secret Judaism, yet 
the slightest taint of Judaism in the blood (and among the Aragonese nobility — the 
nobility of all Spain — this was by no means rare) was sufficient to excite 
suspicion, and, if possible, the vengeance of the Inquisitors.'^^ 

Don Alfonso, son of the King of Aragon, had married a Christian Jewess, Esther, daughter of 
Abiathar ha-Kohen of Sarragossa. Her sister Leah was married to Martin Sanchez, a Marrano. 
Secret denunciations were encouraged, and at any time the black-robed officers of the Inquisition 
might suddenly apprehend a man and hale him before the dread tribunal. 

The results of such an examination may be gathered from the fact that at Seville alone in the 
course of a single year, 280 persons were burned alive, 79 were condemned to lifelong 
imprisonment and 17,000 received sentences of varying severity. At the burning of Jewish girl, 
Philip III could not refrain from shuddering. The Inquisition said that this crime 


could only be atoned for by his blood. The king was forthwith bled, and the blood solemnly 
burnt by the executioner. 

In some palaces they were not content with burning the living; their insatiable 
vengeance warred on the dead. Sepulchres were broken open, and the bodies of 
suspected Jews, which had wickedly intruded themselves into consecrated ground 
but had long slumbered in peace, and their souls gone to their account, were torn up 
and exposed to shame and insult.'" 

One of the earliest decrees of the Inquisition provided that no bishop or other priest of Jewish 
descent should have a seat in the court. Twenty-seven indications of secret Judaism were drawn 
up, including the following: — Expecting the Messiah; Hoping for justification by the Law of 
Moses; Keeping the Sabbath by wearing better clothes or not lighting fires on that day; 
Observing distinction of meats; Celebrating the Jewish festivals or fasting on Jewish fast-days; 
Showing joy on the Fast of Esther; Or bewailing the destruction of Jerusalem on August 9 (ab); 
Singing psalms in Hebrew without adding Gloria Patre (the Christian doxology); Performing 
any Jewish rites such as circumcision; Retaining Jewish marriage or burial customs; Interring the 
dead in Jewish cemeteries. 

Judah ben Virga, Rabbi of Seville, typified the state of affairs under the Inquisition by 
placing in his window three doves, each bearing a Hebrew inscription. The first bird which was 
dead and plucked bore the legend, "These are the detected"; the second which was plucked but 
alive carried the statement, "These are the temporisers"; while the third dove alive and fully 
fledged was described as "The best of all." By these birds the rabbi illustrated the lot of the New 
Christian convicted of Judaism, the Jew who dissembled, and the loyal Jew. For a time indeed 
the unbaptized Jew had the best of it, for he could not be charged as a relapsed Christian; but the 
Inquisition did not long suffer him to remain secure. At Granada, newly recovered from the 


Moors, an edict was issued in 1492 ordering the expulsion of all unbaptized Jews from Spain in 
four months time. It was useless for the Jews to protest, or for Rabbi Abrabanel on their behalf to 
offer 30,000 ducats for the privilege of remaining in the country, which in spite of persecution 
they dearly loved. Thomas de Torquemada held up a crucifix before Ferdinand and Isabella, 
crying, "Behold Him whom Judas sold for thirty pieces of silver. Sell ye Him now for a higher 
price, and render an account of your bargain before God," 

Look they move! No comrades near but curses; 


Tears gleam in beards of men sore with reverses' 
Flowers from fields abandoned, loving nurses 
Fondly deck the women's raven hair. 

Faded, scentless flowers that shall remind them 
Of their precious homes and graves behind them; 
Old men clasping Torah-scrolle, unbind them 
Lift the parchment flags and silent lead. 

Mock not with thy light, O sun, our morrow' 
Cease not, cease not, O ye songs of sorrow; 
From what land a refuge can we borrow. 
Weary, thrust-out, God-forsaken, we?'^^ 

Yet many did find a refuge, in Africa, in Persia, in the Levant. Large numbers, including 
many New Christians, fled to the Netherlands. Da Costa quotes a Jewish author of Amsterdam to 
the effect that. 

Many of the canons, inquisitors, and bishops on Spain are of Jewish descent; some 
are still Jews at heart, though, for the sake of temporal advantages, they feign 
themselves to be Christians; some of these at times repent and leave the country as 
best they can. In this city of Amsterdam, and in other countries, there arc 
Augustines, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits, who have cast off idolatry. In 
Spain there are a great many distinguished bishops and monks, whose parents, 
brothers and sisters, live in this town and elsewhere, where they can profess 
Judaism. '^^ 

When Christopher Columbus set out on his voyage that led to the discovery of the New 
World, there were boatloads of Jewish refugees in the harbor, and there were Jewish Christians 
among the members of his own crew. But if the North American continent was to prove a 
blessing to thousands of a later generation of Israelites, it was long before this could be true of 
South America. So long as there was an Inquisition, so long was the Jewish Christian unsafe in 
any Catholic country. As recently as the eighteenth century emissaries of the Holy Office in 
Brazil arrested and sent to Lisbon a batch of citizens on the charge of being crypt- Jews. In the 
same century in the Portuguese capital auto-da-fcs continued to be held, and still largely with the 
same object, the detection and punishment 



of those who secretly practised Jewish rites. On the occasion of an auto-da-fe, it was customary 
to preach a sermon to the sufferers in hope of moving them to an eleventh-hour repentance. As a 
specimen of the pious sentiments expressed at such a time, the following extracts are taken from 
an actual address delivered to a convicted company of New Christians by the Archbishop of 
Cranganor at Lisbon, September 6, 1705. 

O degraded remnant of Judaism, unhappy fragments of the Synagogue! the last 
spoil of Judaea! opprobrium of the Catholics! abhorrence and laughing-stock of your 
fellow Jews! it is to you I address myself, ye misguided men! 

You are the abhorrence and laughing-stock of the Jews; for your ignorance is such 
that you know not how to observe the very Law you profess. You are the 
opprobrium of the Catholics; for, being born within the pale of the Church, your 
voluntary apostasy has banished you from its bosom. You are the last spoil of 
Judaea; for — to our shame ~ your lot is cast here in Portugal to disgrace and 
scandalize us in the opinion of the whole world — in our quarter of the globe as 
well as in your native East. You are the wretched fragments of the Synagogue; for 
all its former greatness is come to an end in your present misery. Finally, you are a 
degraded remnant of Judaism, the wretched off-shoots of Israel, who, since the 
destruction of your country, have spread throughout Europe to infect whole nations 
by your presence .... 

How greatly do I pity your degradation. O children of Israel! How many tears of 
blood do I shed through compassion for your misfortunes, contemplating what you 
are at this day, and what you formerly were. In ancient times the inheritors of that 
affection which your continued obstinancy did not deserve; this day the objects of 
well-merited anger, which fulfills in you a just retribution: this day the scaffold is 
the theater of your contumely; formerly your tabernacles were the boast of your 
religion. In ancient times, the waters held you in respect, and no less the flames; this 
day fire will feed on you, and your ashes, cast into the sea, will find a tomb in the 
waters .... 

This day, the anniversary of your feast of Purim, is the day when you are to abjure 
and make atonement for your sins in the yellow and scarlet colors of your 
penitential dresses —the em- 

blems of the fire which will consume your dwelling places, unless these dresses be 
changed for another color before being committed to the flames. In former times, on 
the day of Atonement for your sins, the scarlet thread that was bound on the horns 
of the goat which was to be sacrificed on that day was changed into white, to show 
that God had pardoned your sins. In former times your inheritance was the 
unalienable property of your families; now the public treasury is your heir .... 

Truly. O children dear to my soul, the condition in which you are at the present day 
compared with what you were in times past would soften a heart far more obdurate 
than mine; for though we may not be of the same blood, we are all your brethren 
through the blood of Jesus Christ who redeemed you, and through the holy water of 
baptism, wherewith you have been sprinkled .... 



You yourselves see how you are dispersed all over the world, and scattered 
throughout every land; and either from necessity or inclination hold yourselves 
apart from one another, so that even if you meet privately to perform the rites of 
Judaism, you avoid each other in public, in order to deceive those who charge you 
with being Jews. You yourselves bewail your misfortunes, and complain to us 
Catholics that your enemies ensnare you, and draw you so suddenly and 
indiscriminately into the meshes of our Holy Office, that all of your lineage are 
exposed to the same calamity; and although you mutually proclaim your afflictions 
to one another, there is no one who has the power to rescue you therefrom .... 

The sermon closes with a prayer of which the following are the concluding lines: 

You called to them in kindness, but they made an ungrateful return for Your favors. 
Seek now to win them to You by chastisement, however little chastisement has 
hitherto benefited them. Cause them to acknowledge with perfect sincerity, that in 
their present miserable state they have no other remedy than to repent for the time 
they have lost in their false expectations, by bewailing their errors, abhorring their 
sins, abominating their superstition, and renouncing their contumacy; so that, being 
regenerated by the waters of their penitent eyes, they may be born again Your 
children, as already by baptism they have become.'*" 


Wretched Christianized Jews! having to listen to this and much more of hateful piety and 
crocodile tears while standing on the brink of a tortured entry into eternity. Even the blood of an 
impartial historian may boil at such a horror. Such was the "Misericordia etJustitia" — the 
mercy and justice — which the Inquisition proudly emblazoned on its banner, and which it did 
not mete out to the New Christians, many of whom were no doubt sincere enough believers in 
Christ, yet could not altogether forsake their own people nor the customs that time had hallowed. 
And what was there wrong in their standpoint? We may ask today. Yet we know that even now 
with all the liberality of faith that has come with more enlightened days, the Jewish Christian 
who wished to retain his national and ancestral practices, while utterly loyal to his Savor, is 
looked upon askance, and the genuineness of his Christian convictions is doubted. But in the 
darker days, the mere fact of Jewish origin was, in itself, often sufficient to call down the jealous 
vengeance of an apostate Church. God save us from trial by clergy! The tragedy of it all has been 
well set forth by Israel Zangwill in his poem Mo^'e^ and Jesus. 

In dream I saw two Jews that met by chance, 

One old, stern-eyed, deep-browed, yet garlanded 

With living light of love around his head. 

The other young, with sweet seraphic glance. 

Around went on the Town's satanic dance, 

Hunger a-piping while at heart he bled. 

Shalom Alechem (peace be with you), mournfully each said. 

Nor eyed the other straight, but looked askance. 

Sudden from Church out rolled an organ hymn. 
From Synagogue a loudly chaunted air, 


Each with its Prophet's high acclaim instinct. 
Then for the first time met their eyes, swift-linked 
In one strange, silent, piteous gaze, and dim 
With bitter tears of agonized despair. 



Chapter XVI 


In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the reUgions and intellectual life of Europe was 
entirely changed by two great movements, the Reformation and the Renaissance, whose 
combined effect led eventually to the emancipation of the Jewish people. The change of attitude 
towards the Jew was not, however, conspicuously evident at the first. Not until the nineteenth 
century did the forces of humanity and enlightenment bring about any real amelioration of the 
Jewish lot over any considerable part of Europe. But the flames gradually died down, and the 
rack and thumbscrew ceased to be considered as potent arguments in the service of religion. 

The condition of the Jewish Christians under Roman Catholic domination has been 
sufficiently described; it remains to be shown how they fared under Protestantism. Martin 
Luther, the great reformer, in the expectation that the Jews would gladly receive the Christian 
faith in the purer form which he advocated, began by extending to them the utmost toleration. In 
a book which he published in 1523, under the title Das Jesus em Gerborene Jude Gewesen (That 
Jesus was born a Jew) he has a remarkable passage: 

Those fools the papists, bishops, sophists, monks, have formerly so dealt with the 
Jews, that every good Christian would rather have been a Jew. And if I had been a 
Jew, and seen such stupidity and such blockheads reign in the Christian Church, I 
would rather be a pig than a Christian. They have treated the Jews as if they were 
dogs, not men, and as if they were fit for nothing but to be reviled. They are blood 
relations of our Lord; therefore, if we respect flesh and blood, the Jews belong to 
Christ more than we. I beg, therefore, my dear Papists, if you become tired of 
abusing me as a heretic, that you begin to revile me as a Jew. Therefore, it is my 
advice that we should treat them kindly; but now we drive them by force, treating 
them deceitfully or ignominiously, saying they must have Christian blood to wash 
away the Jewish stain, and I know not what nonsense. Also we prohibit them from 
working amongst us, from living and having social intercourse with us, forcing 
them, if they would remain with us to be usurers. 


But like Mohamed, finding that the Jews made hub response to his overtures, Luther changed 
his tune. Forgetful of his former counsels, he published twenty-one years later another book 
entitled Von den Juden undihren Jugen (Of the Jews and their Lies), in which he exhibits none 
of his earlier friendliness. He vents his disappointment in the utterance: "Doubt not, believed in 
Christ, that after the Devil you have no more bitter, venomous, violent enemy, than the real Jew. 
the Jew in earnest in his belief" He urges his followers: 

(1) Burn their synagogues and schools; what will not burn, bury with earth, that 
neither stone nor rubbish remain. (2) In like manner, break into and destroy their 
houses. (3) Take away all their prayer-books and talmuds, in which are nothing but 
godlessness, lies, cursing and swearing. (4) Forbid their rabbis to teach on pain of 
life and limb. (5) Forbid them to travel: as they are neither lords nor officials, nor 
merchants, they should stay at home. (6) Interdict all usury: we are not their 
subjects, but they ours. (7) In the hands of all young Jews and Jewesses should be 


placed flails, axes, mattocks, spades, distaffs, spinning-wheels, and let them get 
their livelihood in the sweat of their brow, as should all the children of Adam. 

Among other things Luther in his Schem Hamphoras (The Ineffable Name) attacked the 
Toledoth Jeshu, the Jewish Life of Jesus, ' vluich already for several centuries had been a fruitful 
cause of Jewish persecution. True, this ancient work had become more and more libelous and 
scandalous as bitterness dictated further fanciful embellishments; but only a very limited number 
of Jews set any store by it. By most it was even at this time regarded as a jest, a dubious after- 
dinner tale for Christmas eve, and those who retailed its sordid details only faintly associated the 
principal character with the Jesus of the Christians. 

Calvin, another of the reformers, though he came little into contact with Jews was by no 
means tolerant towards them, though less vehement than Luther. Certainly the immediate result 
of the Reformation was not to lighten the Jewish burden. 

Protestant Germany took up the tale of persecution in the sixteenth century where 
Catholic Germany had left off in the fifteenth. The Jews were given the alternative 
of baptism and banishment in Berlin, were expelled from Bavaria in 1553, from 
Brandenburg in 1573, and in the tragedy of oppression was 


carried on through the ensuing centuries."^' 

Prejudice dies hard, but on the whole it may be said that the purer faith of the Protestants and 
their abstention from the more violent and cruel forms of anti-semitism were more conducive to 
awakening a spirit of inquiry in Jewish minds than had been possible under Roman Catholicism. 
Since the sixteenth century that spirit of inquiry has increased in direct proportion to the 
toleration and love shown by the Christian to the Jew. Little by little, as the full rights of 
citizenship have been accorded him, and his equality in all that pertains to human intercourse 
recognized, his interest in the one who has effected this transformation has awakened. The moral 
is not far to seek. A Messiah "who walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may 
devour" could not be the promised Savior of the Scriptures. The Messiah for whom Israel has 
besought the Heavenly Fattier with anxious tears "shall not hurt or destroy." The Man of 
Sorrows had an appeal to the People of Sorrows infinitely greater than the Christ of the 
Inquisition. The lesson had to be learned in the bitter experiences of exile and martyrdom, but it 
had not been in vain; for the Jew of more enlightened times could clasp the wounded hands, in 
tearful understanding if not yet in sincere repentance. 

The Renaissance also had played its part in opening the way for Jewish acceptance of Christ. 
The ecclesiasticism which had kept the thought of Europe flowing in fixed channels had become 
more flexible and assimilative. It is unpleasant to have to record that a Jewish convert to 
Christianity was one of those who attempted to stay the march of process. Johann Phefferkorn 
(1469-c. 1521) will always be remembered as the tool of the Dominicans in their last bid for 
power in Germany. Jacob van Hoogstraatcn, Prior of the Order in Cologne, where Phefferkorn 
was baptized in 1505, used him in attacks against the Jews, and particularly against their 
literature deemed inimical to Christianity. The Emperor Maximilian was induced to publish an 
edict of confiscation and destruction, and later to appoint of inquiry to consider the accusations 
of Phefferkorn. Among those who sat on this commission were Victor of Carben, a more 


enlightened Jewish Christian, Hoogstraaten and Johann Reuchlin. Reuchlin, the great Humanist, 
dared to report in favor of the Jews and the edict was suspended. Pfefferkorn was furious. Victor 
of Carbcn retired from pubUc life acknowledging his 


dislike for religious controversy. 

Then began a fierce intellectual battle with Pfefferkorn and Reuchlin as the protagonists, 
which involved the most learned scholars of Europe. Tracts and counter-tracts were heatedly 
composed, Der Aungenspiegel, Der Augenspiegel. Der Brandspiegel, etc. The Dominicans 
eventually gained a barren victory in the papal condemnation of Reuchlin. But the better sense of 
thinking men had been awakened, and the Humanists had really won the day. The outcome of the 
struggle was a new interest on the part of Gentile scholars in the Hebrew language and literature. 
The accumulated wisdom of Israel began to be laid under contribution to enrich the world. A 
large part of the Jewish literature of this period was devoted to Kabbalistic lore, and this was 
found specially attractive. Reuchlin himself was enchanted with the occult and philosophical 
speculations of this system, and in his wake followed Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, 
and Robert Fludd. while on the expository and linguistic side of Hebrew learning such men as 
the elder Buxtorf did yeoman service. The new interest in Hebrew even produced renderings of 
the Gospel into the sacred tongue by Sebastian Munster. 

But if Jewish Christianity seemed to darken in the light with such a blustering fanatic as 
Pfefferkorn, it made ample compensation with many another convert who helped in 
disseminating Hebrew literature and learning. Mention may be made of a few representative 

Three Jewish Christians were employed by Cardinal Ximenes to assist him in preparing his 
famous Complutensian Polyglot Bible (1514-1517). Their names are Paul Nunez Corones, 
Alfonso de Zamora and Alfonso d' Alcala. The two former were both professors at the University 
of Salamanca. Dominico Irosolimitano, a Rabbi of Safed, became famed as a doctor and was 
summoned by the Sultan to be court physician at Constantinople. After embracing Christianity 
he taught Hebrew at Rome. 

Giovanni Baptista Jonas, also a Palestinian from Safed (1588-1668), came to Europe and 
was, for a time, assistant rabbi in Hamburg. He was converted in Poland in 1625. Thereafter he 
went to Italy and was appointed Professor at the University of Pisa, and later one of the Vatican 
librarians. He made a Hebrew translation of the Gospels and compiled a Begrea-Chaldee lexicon: 
he is noted for many other works. 

Two grandsons of the famous Hebrew grammarian, Elias Levita. became Christians, and 
were employed in expurgating and editing Jewish 



Paul Riccio, a German Jewish Christian of the first half of the sixteenth century, became 
Professor of Philosophy in the University of Pavia, subsequently he was physician to Maximilian 
I. He was a friend of Erasmus, and held a controversy with Eck on astronomical subjects. He 
sought the spiritual welfare of his Jewish brethren, and imparted to Christians much information 
about Jewish literature. His best known book is his De Posta Lucis R. Josephi Gecatilia 

(Augsburg 1616), which is a free translation of a part of the Kabbalistic work Sha 'are Orah by 
Joseph Gekatila. Jerome Riccio, Paul's son, sent a copy of the work to Reuchlin, who utilized it 
in the composition of his De Are Cabballistica. Riccio relates that he was ordered to prepare a 
Latin translation of the Talmud. All that has come down of it are the translations of the tractates 
of Berechoth, Sanhedrin, and Makkoth (Augsburg 1519), which are the earliest Latin renderings 
of the Mishnah known to bibliographers.'^^ Riccio also wrote an introduction to the Kabbalah 
which went through four editions. 

Johannes Isaac Levita Germanus, baptized in 1546, was for a time Professor of Hebrew in 
London and subsequently in Cologne. 

John Immanuel Tremellius (1510-1580) waseducated at the University of Padua, and became 
a Christian through the influence of Cardinal Pole. The following year he gave his allegiance to 
Protesantism, and settled down as a Hebrew teacher at Strasburg. Later, as a refugee from the 
religious wars in Germany, he came to England and found asylum with Archbishop Cranmer at 
Lambeth Palace. In 1549 he became Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge University. 
When Queen Mary came to the throne he returned to Germany, where for a time he was 
Professor of Old Testament at Heidelberg. Finally he removed to the College of Sedan, where he 
remained until his death. He made a Latin translation of the Bible from Hebrew and Syriac, 
which ran into several editions. He also translated into Hebrew Calvin's Catechism (Paris, 1551), 
and wrote a Syriac and Chaldee grammar (Paris. 1569). 

An interesting personality is Mark Raphael, an Italian Jewish Christian of the first half of the 
sixteenth century. Henry VIII of England sought his help in his matrimonial difficulties, and he 
was asked to advise on the legality of Henry's levirate marriage to Queen Catharine according to 
Jewish Law. He came to England in January, 1551. He upheld the legality of the marriage, but 
suggested that there would be no wrong in the 


king taking a second wife during tile lifetime of the first. Naturally, such advice was rejected; of 
[so?] Raphael changed his view and now contended that the object of a levirate marriage was to 
continue the deceased brother's line, and as no male heir had resulted from the union, the king 
could not have had this intention, and the marriage was therefore invalid. His opinion was 
included with others in the memorial to Parliament, and Raphael was suitably rewarded by a 
grateful monarch. 

The record of sixteenth-century Jewish Christians of note would be incomplete without some 
account of Dr. Rodrigo Lopez, Physician to Queen Elizabeth, and believed by Sir Sidney Lee to 
be the original of Shakespeare's Shylock. A very full and able account of him has been written 
by R. Ackerman,'^^ and because of the important part he played in the affairs of his day, his 
story, as well for its dramatic quality, is worthy of some detailed consideration. 

Lopez hailed from Portugal, and settled in England in 1559, most likely as a refugee from the 
Inquisition. He is described in the census of foreigners living in England in 1511 as "Dr. Lopus, 
a portingale, householder, denizen, who came into this realm about twelve years past to get his 
living by physike." His wife Sarah and a brother Lewis are also mentioned. The date of his 
conversion to Christianity is unknown. He speedily rose to eminence in his profession and was 
elected a member of the College of Physicians; he was also the first man to hold the appointment 
of house physician at St Bartholomew's hospital. A colleague, William Clowes, praised him as 


one who "showed himself to be both careful and very skilful, not only in his counsel in dieting, 
purging and bleeding, but also for his direction of Arceus' apozema." His fame and practice 
grew rapidly. In 1571 he attended Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's Secretary; in 1575 his 
name appears near the head of the list of the chief London doctors published by Stowe. Ten years 
later he was a physician to the Earl of Leicester; then he was attached to the household of the 
Earl of Essex; and finally in 1586 he was made physician to Queen Elizabeth, who in 1589 
granted him the valuable monopoly of importing seed and sumach into England. 

Through his lucrative practice Lopez rapidly amassed a fortune. In 1593 he had a house in 
Holborn gifted to him by a grateful patient. He had two daughters living at home and a son at 
Winchester. Naturally there were many to envy him his good fortune, especially as he was a Jew. 
"He is none of the learnedest or expertest physicians in the 


court?" wrote Gabriel Harvey, "but one that maketh a great account of himself as the best, and 
by a kind of Jewish practice as well with ye queen herself as with sum of ye greatest Lords and 

But life at court quickly involved the worthy doctor in the prevailing intrigues and proved his 
undoing. Being fluent in the Portuguese and Spanish tongues, his services as an interpreter were 
in constant requisition at a time when Essex had espoused the cause of Don Antonio, pretender 
to the throne of Portugal, against Philip II of Spain. After an abortive expedition, however, which 
Elizabeth had unwillingly sent to Lisbon, Don Antonio's cause lost favor and Essex remained as 
practically his only distinguished supporter. Lopez had fallen out with Don Antonio, and then for 
the worse quarrelled with Essex, who thereafter set himself to compass his downfall. The doctor 
unwisely allowed himself to be drawn into the opposite camp and became associated with the 
agents of Philip. He was by no means partial to Spain, as is evidenced by the fact that he offered 
his services to Walsingham, who employed him to spy on the Spanish court. In this dangerous 
position he was taking money from Philip and obtaining his goodwill, while actually serving the 
interests of England. Essex saw in this situation the opportunity which he required, and sought 
by every means to obtain proof that Lopez was really working for Spain. Estban Ferreira, a 
former servant to Don Antonio, who resided with Lopez, was arrested at Essex's instigation, and 
later Lopez's house was searched, but Sir Robert Cecil related to the Queen "that there was no 
matter of malice, for in the poor man's house were found no kind of writs of intelligences of 
which he was accused, or otherwise, that hold might be taken of him." Dr. Lopez, meanwhile, 
had been arrested and was confined in Essex's house, with Ferreira and others. By tormenting 
these men with question, Essex at length forced them into a false confession of a conspiracy 
against the Queen in which Dr. Lopez, in the pay of Spain, was to have brought about her death 
by poison. 

Essex was triumphant, and unfortunately Walsingham, who could have cleared Lopez of the 
preposterous charge, was dead. Lopez was brought to trial at the Guilhall on February 28, 1594. 
Essex presided and Coke, the Solicitor-General, prosecuted. The result was inevitable, in spite of 
the prisoner's steadfast plea of innocence. Coke exclaimed against him as "this perjured and 
murdering traitor and Jewish doctor," and he was condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered 
at Tyburn. Elizabeth still seems to have believed him innocent, anti delayed three months before 



signing the death warrant. 

The last scene was enacted with all the barbaric cruelty of the time. The wretched doctor, 
when the shouts of the huge crowd that had collected were silenced for a moment, was heard to 
cry out again his innocence and that he loved the Queen as well as he loved Jesus Christ, "which 
expression," Camden writes, "coming from a Jew, put the spectators into a pleasant fit of 


Though many Jewish Christians might rise to eminence in their chosen professions, the 
majority remained at the opposite end of the social scale. In vain for Luther to urge that they be 
made to till and sow; tenure of land was forbidden them, and often no alternative but to drift into 
beggary, and join the ragged crew of gypsies, mendicants, and vagabonds, who swarmed over 
Europe at this period. The sterling qualities of their race degraded by centuries of persecution 
and ill-usage into low cunning and plausibility, and their native wit further sharpened by hunger, 
they acquired an aptitude in wheedling a precarious livelihood out of a simple and superstitious 
peasantry. An English tract published in 1625 contains the observation: "A store of Jews we have 
in England, a few in Court; many in the city, more in the Country." The tract is significantly 
entitled The Wandering Jew Telling Fortunes to Englishmen. From this statement it will be 
remarked that, contrary to modern conditions, the majority of the Jews were located in the 
country and not in the towns, where they subsisted by fortune-telling, quackery, peddling and 
begging: Most of these Jews were at least nominally Christian. 

In Germany, about 1509, there was published a curious work XhtTibre Vagatorumn (Book of 
Vagabonds),"^'* a kind of who's who of Begging Orders, to the 1528 edition of which Luther 
contributed a Preface. One or two passages are worth quoting: 

The twenty-third chapter is about the Veranerins. These are women who say they 
are baptized Jewesses and have turned Christians, and can tell people whether their 
fathers or mothers are in hell or not, and beg gowns and dresses and other things, 
and have also false letters and seals. 

Item, beware of the peddlers who seek thee at home, for thou wilt buy nothing good 
of them, be it silver, haberdashery, spicery, or any other wares. Beware, likewise, of 
the doctors who travel 


up and down the country, and offer theriack and roots, and make much ado about 
themselves, and especially some blind doctors. One called Hans of Strasburg, has 
been a Jew, and was christened at Strasburg at Whitsuntide; years ago his eyes were 
bored out at Worms, but he is now a physician, and tells fortunes, and travels from 
place to place, arid cheats and defrauds everybody. How? I need not say, I could tell 
welt enough. 

At the end of this fascinating and revealing little volume there is a Vocabulary of sixteenth- 
century beggar's slang, of which Luther says in this Preface: "Truly, such Beggars' Cant has 
come from the Jews, for many Hebrew words occur in the Vocabulary, as any one who 
understand that language may perceive. "'^Unstances given are the following: 

Adone, God — Hebrew, Adonai , the Lord 



to eat 

— Hebrew, Akal 


an egg 

— Hebrew, Beytzah 

Boss or Bett, 

a house 

— Hebrew, Beth 



— Hebrew, Basar 

Bosshart-Vetzer, a butcher 


a letter, a 

cipher — Hebrew. Sepher 


a parson 

— Hebrew, Kahal , a priest 


a child 

— Hebrew, Gatam, puny 


a village 

Hebrew, K'far 



— Hebrew, Yahyin 



— Hebrew, Lehem 


to drink 

— Hebrew, Schachar 



— Hebrew, Shafar, mean 

The subject is undoubtedly worthy of a special monograph, and offers an interesting sidelight 
on the Christianized Jew in contemporary society. 



Chapter XVII 


The seventeenth century passed and the opening decades of the eighteenth without any 
notable name being added to the roll of eminent Jewish Christians, though voluntary 
conversions, real and assumed, were numerous both to Catholicism, Protestantism, and to the 
Orthodox Greek Church. Nevertheless, for historic Jewish Christianity, this period was one of 
the most remarkable since the triumph of the Gentile Church in the fourth century. The tide 
which had carried Christianity steadily further away from the Jewish apostolic faith was now at 
its turn, and thousands not of the Hebrew race began to turn their eyes Zionwards, literally and 

Despite intolerance, which again and again reared its jagged barriers against the waves which 
swept in towards the Palestinian shores, the process could not be stemmed. In Poland and 
Transylvania the teaching of Fausto Sozzini (Socinus) had gained a footing for an energetic 
antitrinitarianism, which initiated the Unitarian movement, granting to Jesus rather the courtesy 
title of God than actual Deity, and sublimating the personality of the Holy Spirit into a spiritual 
influence. In Britain, the publication of the Authorized Version of the Bible became the 
inspiration of Puritanism and Biblical speech and nomenclature so permeated the national life 
that it seemed as if the true People of the Book were the inhabitants of the islands. In Holland the 
Reformation Church was no less active in promoting an almost Jewish domestic life and faith. 
Indeed, at one and the same time Jewish ideas were deeply influencing the two great Christian 
groups, Kabbalism among the Catholics and Propheticism among the Protestants. The Old 
Testament took a new hold on the religious consciousness. Men began to find in the Law of 
Moses the divinely appointed rule of conduct, and to study the Prophets for Light on the last 
days. Jew and Christian drew nearer together than they had done for many centuries past. 

The whole of Christendom was strangely unquiet, filled with Messianic expectations and 
forebodings of coming Judgment. A.D. 1666 was set as the crucial apocalyptic year, and there 
were no lack of pamphlets predicting the time of the end. The night skies were searched for signs 
and portents, and stern pastors painted lurid pictures of the last days for their trembling flocks. 
The Jews themselves impressed by the attitude of their 


Christian neighbors, and by their own mystical speculations, began to lift their heads in 
expectation. David Reubeni, who had arrived in Europe a century before with talk of a Jewish 
kingdom in the East, had not been forgotten. Antonio de Montesinos was claiming that the 
North- American Indians were the lost Ten Tribes. Manasseh ben Israel was petitioning of the 
settlement of the Jews in England and Sweden on the ground that their restoration could not take 
place until they were completely dispersed throughout every land. 

As the apocalyptic year drew near, the tension increased among Jews and Christians. The 
national conversion of the Jewish people no longer appeared as a dim and distant prospect, still 
less as an unattainable goal. The Dutch led the way in founding a Jewish mission. In Germany. 
Esdras Edzard constituted himself apostle to the Jews, and was instrumental during his long life 
in leading more Jews to Christ than any other single person. He was followed by Professor John 
Henry Callenberg at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and later in 1728 the famous 


Callenberg Institutum Judaicum was founded. Reineck in 1713 declared. "The general topic of 
conversation and discussion at the present day is about the conversion of the Jews." There is no 
question that Cromwell was influenced in favor of Manasseh ben Israel's petition for the 
readmission of the Jews to England by hopes of their conversion. Addressing an assemblage of 
clergy and merchants in long gallery at Whitehall, he said: "Was it not, then, our duty in 
particular to encourage them to settle where they could be taught the truth, and not to exclude 
them from the light, and leave them among false teachers, papists, and idolaters?" There were 
rumors that the Jews had offered the Protector half-a-million pounds for St. Paul's Cathedral to 
become their synagogue, and one writer suggested solving the Irish problem by making that 
country over to them. 

Then in distant Smyrna a Messiah appeared — Shabbathai Zevi. Not since Bar-Kochba had 
any claimant to the throne of David found such a following. Yet in personality, the two were 
poles asunder. Bar-Kochba was a warrior, pure and simple. Shabbathai Zevi was a mystic, a 
Kabbalistic visionary. Yet each was suited to the Jewish temperament of his day. Shabbathai, 
born on the fateful 9th of Ab, did not avow himself openly as the Messiah until he was forty 
years of age, and it would seem that he was rather compelled to the declaration by the 
enthusiasm of his disciples. Yet some years before he had dared to pronounce the 


Ineffable Name of God, which might be interpreted as an indication of his belief that he was 
the promised deliverer. So enwrapped was he in an atmosphere of exalted mysticism, however, 
that this incident cannot be urged as proof that he made any claim on his own behalf before he 
was driven to it. But with Nathan of Gaza as his energetic prophet, he did finally proclaim 
himself, and the tidings spread swiftly to the West. Jewish merchants in Amsterdam began to 
close their businesses preparatory to returning to the Land of Israel. Whole communities of Jews 
got ready to depart. Prayers for "our Lord and King Shabbathai Zevi" were read in orthodox 
synagogues. Men and women and even children fell into prophetic ecstasies. And although many 
rabbis doubted and opposed the movement the Jewish people would not be baulked of their 
triumph, and rejoiced that the long night of sorrow was nearly ended. Christians began to wonder 
what these happenings could portend. Was Shabbathai Zevi the real Christ? Was he the 
Antichrist? The wildest rumors gained currency. To the north of Scotland a ship had been sighted 
with sails blazoned with the words, "The Twelve Tribes of Israel," manned with sailors who 
spoke only the Hebrew tongue. On the heels of fancy followed terrible reality. 1665 was the 
Plague Year, and in 1666 came the great fire of London. 

How shocking to the Jews was the tragic disappointment when Shabbathai, pressed to fulfill 
the prediction that he should take the crown from the head of the Turkish Sultan, arrived at 
Constantinople and was first imprisoned and later on threat of death turned Mussulman. Long 
afterwards the Jewish communities were still rent and torn by controversy because some yet 
clung to the vain hope that in an unexplained miraculous manner their hero would be restored to 
them and fulfill his destiny. While in the Near East, the Donmeh sect still survives, whose 
members practise a faith half Muslim half Jewish, looking for the return of their Messiah, a pale 
reflection of what Nazarenism was in the early Christian centuries. 

As had happened on similar occasion in the past the reaction brought about by the failure of a 
Messianic claimant drove numbers of Jews into the Church. It also led to the formation of many 


borderline sects, particularly in eastern Europe, which on the one hand discarded much of 
rabbinical dogma and ceremonial; and on the other hand flirted with 


Christianity in their mystical Messianism. Chief among these new groups were the 
Frankists. Jacob Frank was born in Poldolia about 1726, the son of one who was himself 
expelled form the local Jewish community for being a Shebs (follower of Shabbathai 
Zevi). As a merchant he spent much of his early life in Salonika and Smyrna, where the 
Shabbathaian influence was still very strong. About 1755 Frank returned to Poldolia and 
gathered about him a body of local sectaries to whom he began to proclaim the 
revelations he had received from the Shebs-messianists. In place of the Talmud, the sect 
reverenced the Kabbalistic Zohar, and styled themselves Zoharists. In their secret 
gatherings, the conditions prevailing in the primitive Corinthian Church were repeated, 
where religious exaltation became degraded by licentiousness; with the result that the 
Frankists were put under a severe ban by the scandalized rabbis, and every effort was 
made to expel them from the Synagogue. 

The persecuted Frankists sought protection from the Bishop of Kamenets-Podolsk on the 
ground of their rejection of Talmud, and that the Zohar which was their authority recognized the 
doctrine of a divine Trinity of which the Messiah was a member. They did not explain that for 
them the Messiah was Shabbathai Zevi. The protection was granted, and as long as the bishop 
lived the sect remained fairly secure. According to Da Costa, the Frankist tenets were as follows: 

"That no religion can possibly exist without the knowledge of God: all other religion 
is an outward service or works: piety and the love of God are the effects of a 
profound acquaintance with His nature, and this must be sought in the study of His 
law, where it is found as within a kernel, from which it must be deduced by means of 
tradition: the doctrine of Moses and the Prophets has an inward meaning far deeper 
than that of the letter, without which it is only a dead letter, and the source of errors 
and mistakes, the cause of the dangerous doctrines of the Talmud; according to the 
pure doctrine of the Word of God, there is only one God, the Creator and Preserver of 
all things, but revealed in three persons; God has appeared from the beginning upon 
earth in human form, but after the entrance of sin. He laid aside this form, and has 
since taken it again of the expiation of sin. As for Jerusalem, it will never be rebuilt, 
and a terrestrial Messiah is not to be expected. '^*^ 

In 1759 Frank entered on a new stage in his career. He claimed that his revelations showed the 
necessity for himself and his followers to adopt the 


Christian faith as part of the process of realizing the world Messianic religion. Accordingly, he 
and some five hundred members of the sect were received into the Church by baptism. Frank, to 
whom Augustus III stood godfather, received the baptismal name of Joseph. Later, however, 
when it was perceived that the Frankists were as heretical as Christians as they had formerly 
been as Jews, proceedings were taken against them, and Frank himself was arrested and confined 
in a monastery for thirteen years. Eventually he was released through the advance of the Russian 
armies, and after an adventurous career died at Offenback in 1791. His daughter, who survived 
him, carried on the leadership of the sect until 1816, when the members were scattered and 


merged with the Catholic Church. 

The movement is noteworthy for the attempt to combine mystical Judaism with Christianity. 
The mystics of all religions have a certain kinship which enables them to draw near to one 
another and sink doctrinal differences in a common supermundane language and conception, and 
Jewish mysticism has by far the closest ties with mystical Christianity. As a result, since the 
Frankist movement, many Jewish converts have come from the ranks of the Chassidim of Poland 
and Galicia. The tendency of this type of Jewish Christian, naturally, is away from realistic 
Nonconformity and towards the High Church and Roman Church which best satisfy their 
aspirations. At the present day a revival of Chassidic Christianity, though in an orthodox form, 
has been attempted by Dr. Paul Levertoff, who characteristically has assisted in translating the 
Zohar into English. Undoubtedly there is a place in the Christian Church for the Jewish mystic, 
and his contribution can be a valuable one even if it must be limited to the few who have a 
capacity for such a transcendental faith. 

It has already been noted to what an unusual extent the Christians of this period were 
concerned with the Jewish problem. Among the books which were written, and which still have 
some reputation, not always of a savory character, were Wagenseil's Telalgnea Satance, 
Eisenmenger' s Entdecktes Judenthum, Lightfoot's Horce Hebraicce et Talmudicce, a commentary 
on the Gospels and some of the Epistles from Jewish sources, Surenhuysius' Mishna, Bartlocci's 
Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica, and Basnage' s L 'Histoire et la Religion des Juifs Depuis Jesus 
Christ Jusqu 'a 



What is of particular importance from the point of view of this history is that this scholarly 
activity in the domain of Hebrew leaming was directly preparing the way of the revival of 
organized Jewish Christianity. Representative of the more enlightened attitude is the statement of 
Surenhuysius, quoted with approval by Canon Danby.'*^^ 

He who desires to be a good and worthy disciple of Christ must either first become 
a Jew, or first learn thoroughly the language and culture of the Jews, and become 
Moses' disciple before he joins the Apostles, in order that he may be able through 
Moses and the Prophets to convince men that Jesus is the Messiah. 

Unwelcome as conversionist attention was to the Jew, he was quickly responsive to a 
reasonable Christian approach which respected the merits of Jewish teaching. In return he could 
give a blessing to the faith which has cursed him for so many centuries. Thus Jacob Emden, the 
famous Jewish controversialist of the eighteenth century, could write: 

Christianity has been given as part of the Jewish religion by Apostles to the Gentile 
world: and its Founder has even made the moral laws stricter than are those 
contained in the Mosaic law. There are, accordingly, many Christians of high 
qualities and excellent morals who keep from hatred and do harm to none, even to 
their enemies. Would that Christians would all live in conformity with their 
precepts! They are not enjoined, like the Israelites, to observe the laws of Moses: 
nor do they sin if they associate other beings with God in worshipping a trinitarian 
Godhead. They will receive reward from God for having propagated a belief in 


Him among nations that never heard His name: for "He looks into the heart." Yea, 
many Christians have even gone forth to the rescue of Jews and their hterature.'*** 

Our highest tribute must be reserved for a Gentile author often falsely described as a 
freethinker when he should have been described as an advanced thinker, for he was fully two 
hundred years before his time. It was John Toland, who, in his Nazarenus published in the 
second decade of the eighteenth century, first perceived and set forth the fundamental difference 
in the constitution of Jewish and Gentile Christianity. If his wise words had received the 
attention that was their due, how much of the suffering would have been spared to hundreds of 
Jewish Christians cut off form their racial heritage by the Church's insistence that by acceptance 


Christ they had ceased in any sense to be Jews. What agonies of soul, what broken hearts, have 
resulted from the Gentile fear of Judaising! How many Jewish homes have mourned a lost son or 
daughter, because it was believed on Christian authority that their converted child had become a 
goy\ Thorny has been the path of the Jewish Christian who desired to remain loyal to his people 
and to their God-given institutions. Romanism tortured his body, but Protestantism tortured his 
soul. No wonder that there have been backsliders, while such a perversion of truth could stand 
for Christian doctrine, and Jewish souls were hunted to death to the tune of "Free from the Law, 
O happy condition!" 

Considerations of space unfortunately prevent any detailed quotation of Toland' s closely 
reasoned arguments, but at least an extract from the Preface to his work must be given as a 
memorial of a Christian man of vision and of faith. 

From the history of the Nazarenes. and more particular from the evident words of 
Scripture, I infer in this discourse a distinction of two sorts of Christians, viz. those 
from among the Jews, and those from among the Gentiles: not only that in fact 
there was such a distinction (which nobody denies) but likewise that of right it 
ought to have been so (which everybody denies) and that it was so designed in the 
Original Plan of Christianity. I mean that the Jews, though associating with the 
converted Gentiles, and acknowledging them for brethren, were still to observe 
their own Law throughout all generations; and that the Gentiles, who became so far 
Jews as to acknowledge One God, were not however, to observe the Jewish Law: 
but that both of them were to be forever after united into one body or fellowship, 
and in that part of Christianity particularly, which, better than all the preparative 
purgations of the Philosophers, requires the sanctification of the spirit, or the 
renovation of the inward man; and wherein alone the Jew and the Gentile, the 
Civilized and the Barbarian, the Freeman and the Bondslave, are all one in Christ, 
however otherwise differing in their circumstances. In comparison of the New 
Creature, Circumcision and Uncircumcision are as nothing: which yet no more 
takes away the distinction of the sexes; since it is likewise said in the same sense, 
and in the same place, that in Christ there is neither Male or Female. This 
fellowship in Piety and Virtue is the Mystery that Paul rightly 



says was hid from all other ages, till the manifestation of it by Jesus; and this union 
without uniformity, between Jew and Gentile, is the admirable Economy of the 
Gospel. Now, this Gospel consists not in words but in virtue; tis inward and 
spiritual, abstracted from all formal and outward performances: for the most exact 
observation of externals, may be without one grain of religion. All this is 
mechanically done by the help of a little book-craft, whereas true religion is inward 
life and spirit. So that something else besides the Legal Ordinances, most of them 
political, was necessary to render a Jew religious: even that Faith, which is an 
internal participation of the divine nature, irradiating the soul; and externally 
appearing in beneficence, justice, sanctity, and those other virtues by which we 
resemble God, who is himself all Goodness. But the Jews generally mistook the 
means for the end: as other, who better understood the end, would not only 
absurdly take away the names: but even those other civil and national rites which 
were to continue always in the Jewish Republic (as I particularly prove) thus 
confounding political with religious performances. From this doctrine it follows (tis 
true) that Jesus did not take away or cancel the Jewish Law, in any sense 
whatsoever. Sacrifices only excepted; but neither does this affect any of the Gentile 
Christians now in the world, who have nothing at all to do with that Law. It follows 
indeed that the Jews, whether becoming Christians or not, are forever bound to the 
Law of Moses, as now limited; and he that thinks that they were absolved from the 
observation of it by Jesus, or that 'tis a fault in them still to adhere to it, does err, 
not knowing the Scriptures; as did most of the converts from the Gentiles, who 
gave their bare names to Christ, but reserved their Idolatrous hearts for their native 
superstitions. These did almost wholly subvert the True Christianity, which in the 
following Treatise I vindicate; drawing it out from under the rubbish of their 
endless division, and clearing it from the almost impenetrable mists of their 
sophistry. So inveterate was their hatred of the Jews (though indebted to them for 
the Gospel) that their observing of any thing, however reasonable or necessary, was 
a sufficient motive for these Gentile converts to reject it .... I do here teach a very 
different doctrine. 

more consonant (I am persuaded) to the mind of Christ and his Apostles, and is 
more agreeable to the Law of nature and the dictates of Humanity. '"^^ 




Chapter XVIII 


The intention of this history clearly excludes any detailed account of Christian Missions 
to Jews, and a voluminous literature already exists on the subject published by the various 
societies themselves and by individuals who were closely connected with their activities. It must 
be clearly recognized, however, that the Missions to the Jews, mainly founded in the nineteenth 
century, paved the way directly for the reconstitution of Jewish Christianity as an organic 
spiritual community, not only because their high-souled efforts won thousands of Jews for Christ 
and so provided the living materials for such a reconstitution, but because some of them 
sponsored and assisted the first hesitant steps of Jewish Christians to unite with one another in a 
corporate existence. The debt of Jewish Christianity to the modern Protestant missions is indeed 
an overwhelming one, and can only be repaid by the utmost endeavor to realize in function the 
vision of so many saintly Gentile Christians of a national Jewish witness for Jesus the Messiah 
that in the dark hour of almost universal unbelief would hold aloft the torch of faith, and fulfill 
the historic mission of Israel to the world by showing forth the pattern of a kingdom of priests 
and a holy nation. 

In the contemplation of such a glorious prospect it is possible to lose sight of, and even to 
forget, the fevers and stresses which have marked the journey to the mount of vision, the 
bitternesses of brethren and the opposition of foes. What we may remember with gratitude is, 
that despite temporary setbacks due to lack of understanding, jealousies, and a rigid adherence to 
sectional formulas, there was a steady striving and progress towards the goal. It could not be 
expected of the Jewish people that they would in any way countenance either the objector 
methods of the Christian propaganda, which to them, and not without reason, represented a 
disruptive force aiming at the piece-meal destruction of their racial integrity. We say, not without 
reason, because the "All one in Chrisf partisans in the Church continued to use the beautiful 
Pauline conception as an axe to sever the Jewish Christian wholly and completely from his 
former co-rcligionists. 

The Jewish Christians themselves, especially the missionaries, partly inspired by zeal for 
their new faith and partly by fear that their sincerity would be called in question, as a rule have 
been outspoken in denunciations of Judaism, so that they have become strangers to their brethren 
and have 


ceased to be associated with any Jewish interests, even of a non-religious character. When not 
disowned through Jewish prejudice they have disowned themselves through Christian prejudice. 

The nearer we approach to our own times the more difficult it becomes to view events 
and individuals in a true historic perspective. It is not only that we have ample records to contrast 
with the scanty relics of past ages, or that a few names have swelled to thousands, but that the 
task of deciding who and what events are really significant is complicated by actual or supposed 
personal bias. If our history had been one of Jewish Christians and not of Jewish Christianity, 
there would be no difficulty, as all that would be required would be a rewriting of expansion of 
Bernstein's Some Jewish Witnesses for Christ. But our aim being what it is, a reference to the 
majority of very estimable Jewish converts of the nineteenth century, many of whom attained to 


great distinction for piety or learning, would be entirely out of place: they belong to the Jewish 
Christian roll of honor, and their names, no doubt, are written in heaven, but they have 
contributed nothing to the Jewish Christian movement. The names that will live in Jewish 
Christian history will be those of men who were not always highly thought of by their own 
generation and who were frequently distressed and discouraged, but who by their steadfast 
adherence to their racial obligations as Jews have sought to restore what Toland realized was the 
Original Plan of Christianity. 

The clarion call to a new conception of Christian duty to the Jew was sounded by 
Callenbcrg in 1732. "Will God save all mankind. He does not exclude the Jews." The Church 
was awakening to the Gentile need of Christ in far off lands, but the Apostolic order "To the Jew 
first," had so far touched few Christian consciences. Muller' s The Light at Eventide, and 
Goldney's £/»z.s'^/e to the Jews, "wheresoever scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth," 
were exceptional tracts. It had to wait for Jewish Christians to plead the cause of their brethren 
before any real active work was started. Joseph Samuel Frey (1711-1 837) and Ridley Herschell 
(1807-1864) were the inspirers of the London Society and the British Society, respectively, for 
Promoting Christianity among the Jews. Many other societies were subsequently formed, and by 
the end of the nineteenth century there were nearly a hundred agencies working among the Jews 
in different parts of the world. The results of their work is shown by the fact 


that at least a quarter of a million Jews were won for Christ during this century. '^° Nor was their 
quality negligible. Twenty names only may be given here as representative. ''' 

Karl Paul Caspari (1814-1892), professor of theology at Christiania. 

Paulus Cassel (1821-1892), German writer and preacher. 

Isaac Da Costa (1789-1860), Dutch historian. 

Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield (1804-1881), British statesman and writer. 

George Ebers (b. 1837). German Egyptologist. 

Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889), English theologian and writer. 

Emin Pasha (1840-1892), African explorer. 

Ferdinand Christian Ewald (1801-1874), German divine. 

Christian David Ginsburg (it 1821), British theologian. 

Bishop Isaac Hellmuth (1820-1901), Canadian divine. 

Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), English astronomer. 

Moses Margoliouth (1818-1881), Jewish historian. 

Karl Marx (1818-1883), German sociaUst. 

Felix Mendel ssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847), German composer. 

Johann August Wilhelm Neander (1789-1850), professor of ecclesiastical history, 


Sir Francis Cohen Palgrave (1788-1861), historian. 

Bishop Samuel Isaac Johseph Schereschewsky (1831-1906), sinologist and divine. 

Henry A. Stern (1820-1885), missionary and traveller. 

Joseph Wolff (1795-1862), missionary and traveller. 

Sir Moses Ximenes (b. 1762), English high sheriff. 


Jewish Christianity does not boast of numbers, and it is only right to add that De le Roi's 
figures include many thousands of Jews who were converts of expediency, especially in 
Germany, where the professing Jew had little chance of advancement. It cannot be said, 
however, that Jewish emancipation, which took place in so many countries during the nineteenth 
century, made the Jew less willing to listen to the Gospel message. Rather is it striking that when 
all compulsion and necessity for Christian baptism was removed there was an increase and not a 
diminution of conversions. The spirit that had steadily resisted threats and persecutions was 
ready to surrender to love. 


One of the most significant of Christian missionary enterprises to the Jews inaugurated 
during the nineteenth century was the Hebrew Christian Testimony to Israel founded in 1893 by 
David Baron and C.A. Schonberger in the East End of London. These two saintly men were 
anxious to impress the Jews with the fact that they did not represent any particular Church or sect 
or party, but that Jewish Christians as such were bearing testimony that they had found in Jesus 
of Nazareth their Messiah and Savior. Their aim was not to convert Jews to a creed, but to bring 
as many as possible into living relationship with God, in Christ, and to testify to both Jews and 
Gentile Christians that Christ and Israel are inseparable; that Christ is still to be "the King of the 
Jews," and that the Jewish nation is in a peculiar sense "His own." David Baron once stated: 

What we continually press upon the Jews is that we believe in Christ as the Son of 
Man and the Son of God, not in spite of, but because we are, Jews. We believe that 
Jesus is the Divine King of our people, the sum and substance or our Scriptures, the 
fulfiller of our Law and our Prophets, the embodiment of all the promises of our 
covenant. Our testimony is that of Jews to Jews. 

Such a position would have been an impossible one even in the previous century. The 
emancipation of the Jews also brought with it the emancipation of the Jewish Christian. No 
longer need he deny his race, but could openly proclaim himself for what he was. 


Chapter XIX 

Twelve weary centuries had passed since Jewish Christianity lost its corporate existence, 
twelve centuries in which any suspicion of Jewishness any convert was condemned as Christian 
apostasy and punished with all the cruelty of the times. Like a peaceful village over which the 
tide of battle has flowed and retreated, and the villagers are returning one by one to their ruined 
homesteads and devastated fields to build and to plan again and to live together, so Jewish 
Christianity began at first hesitatingly, but gradually with more confidence, to reorganize and 
reconstruct. Yet things could not be as once they had been. Times had changed, suffering had 
taught new lessons, it was not possible or politic to rebuild on the old plan, to restate the faith in 
quite the same terms. Nevertheless, it was on the same basis that the foundations had to be laid, a 
Jewish Christian basis, quite distinctive from that of the Gentile Christian, though in many 
respects akin. 

There were those who wished to build on the plan of the places of exile, or the pattern of 
the Christian sects to which they had become attached. There were others who had lost all desire 
for religious repatriation, and held aloof Others again denounced the work as contrary to Divine 
intention: the destruction, they claimed, was proof that a communal Jewish Christianity had been 
done away with, and that assimilation to the universal Church was the design of the present 

The arguments that have been used, and are still being used, are not new, neither arc they 
justifiable. No doubt they were employed by the Jews of Babylon when the faithful remnant set 
out to return and build the walls of Zion. The great work is still in its infancy, foreign influences 
are still strong, there are many Sanballats to impede the work and to attempt to bring it to naught, 
the loyal Jewish Christian must still be ready to pause in his building to defend his new found 
liberty. The cry is raised: "What do these feeble Jews?" It will yet be seen what God will do. 

A portent of the new era for Jewish Christianity was visible in the consecration to the 
newly-created Anglican See of Jerusalem of Bishop Michael Solomon Alexander in 1841, the 
first Jewish Christian Bishop of Jerusalem since A.D. 135. 

Alexander was bom at Schonlanke in Posen in 1799. and grew to manhood in an 
orthodox Jewish home. He came to England in 1820, 


being at that time wholly unacquainted with Christianity. At Colchester, where he had settled as 
a tutor, he happened to see a handbill notifying the annual meeting of the London Jews' Society, 
and this so aroused his curiosity that he obtained and read the New Testament. Later he became 
rabbi of the Jewish congregation at Norwich, and subsequently at Plymouth, where in 1821 he 
married a Miss Levy of that town. The instrument of his conversion was the Rev. B.B. Golding, 
curate of Stonehouse, to whom he gave lessons in Hebrew. He was eventually baptized in 1825, 
and it was his joy to discover that his wife quite unknown to him had been a secret inquirer. 
After ordination as deacon, and then as priest, he became a missionary of the London Jews' 
Society (1827-1841). During part of this time he held the post of Professor of Hebrew and 
Rabbinical Literature in King's College, London. In 1840. Professor Alexander's name appeared 
at the head of a list of sixty Jewish Christians who had subscribed to a formal "protest of 


Christian Jews in England" against the Blood Libel, that Jews used Christian blood in their 
Passover rites. 

In 1841 King Frederic William IV of Prussia, desiring to ameliorate the condition of 
Protestants in the Holy Land, proposed to Great Britain, through Chevalier Bunsen the 
establishment of a joint episcopal representative at Jerusalem. The suggestion was cordially 
accepted. Parliament passed a Bill to found and endow a Bishopric, which received Queen 
Victoria's assent on October 5, 1841. 

The offer of the Bishopric was made, in the first instance, to Dr. McCaul, who declined it 
on the ground that a Jewish Christian ought to occupy the position. Alexander was thereupon 
selected and consecrated as first Bishop of the new see on Sunday, November 7, 1841, in 
Lambeth Palace by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the presence of a distinguished company. 
The next morning the new Bishop celebrated Holy Communion in the Episcopal Jews' Chapel, 
and in the evening preached his last sermon before his departure from England, prophetically as 
it afterwards transpired from the text: "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, 
not knowing the things that shall befall mc there." 

Jerusalem was reached on January 21, 1842, and it was a day of great rejoicing when the 
Jewish Bishop entered the city of his fathers. In conformity with instructions received from 
Constantinople, proclamation was made in the mosques that, "he who touches the Anglican 
Bishop will be regarded as touching the apple of Pasha's eye." In his last annual 


letter, written in 1845 just before he started on the journey to Cairo which resulted in his death. 
Bishop Alexander referred to that great event in his life. He spoke of that day as; 

much to be remembered, even when the results, which have already followed in 
this short period, be alone taken into consideration; but a day which we trust will 
yet prove one of the most remarkable in the history of the Church, when the Lord 
"shall bind up Zion, and appear in His glory." and when all, who now mourn for 
her, seeing her desolate and trodden down, shall rejoice for joy with her; and when 
God's people shall be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 

His tragic death occurred it the desert at Ras-el-Wady on the road to Egypt, by the 
rupture of a blood vessel, on November 26, 1 845, after a brief episcopate of only four years. His 
remains were brought back to Jerusalem and interred in the English cemetery. The highest 
testimony to his life and example was that contained in a letter of condolence to Mrs. Alexander, 
signed by thirty-one Jewish Christians of Jerusalem, who had acknowledged their Messiah 
through the bishop's instrumentality. The signatories said: 

Next to yourself and your dear family, we consider ourselves the chief mourners; 
for we feel both collectively and individually that we have lost not only a true 
father in Christ, but also a loving brother and a most kind friend. The suavity and 
benignity of his manner, which so greatly endeared him to all, and which gained 
him the highest and most entire filial confidence of every one of us, tend much to 
increase the keen sense we feel of our loss. The affectionate love he bore to Israel, 
which peculiarly characterized him, could not fail to render him beloved by every 
one who had the privilege of being acquainted with him; while his exalted piety, 
and most exemplary life and conversation, inspired the highest reverential esteem. 


He was a burning and shining light; and when he was raised to the highest dignity 
in the Church, he conferred the most conspicuous honor on our whole nation, but 
especially on the little band of Jewish believers. With him captive, Judah's 
brightest earthly star has set, and the top stone has been taken away from the rising 
Hebrew Church. '^^ 


It was in London, in Palestine Place, for so many years an oasis for wandering Israelites, 
that the first exclusively Hebrew Christian Association was formed. Here in the Jews' Chapel on 
September 9, 1813. a group of forty-one Jewish Christians met together to constitute themselves 
an association called Beni Avraham, Children of Abraham, who undertook to meet for prayer 
every Sunday morning and Friday evening: to attend divine worship at the chapel and to visit 
daily, two by two in rotation, any sick member, to pray with him and read the Bible to him; and 
on Sunday, all who could were to visit the sick one. 

In 1835 the ministry of this association was extended, and it was now known as the 
episcopal Jews' Chapel Abrahamic Society, for visiting and relieving Jewish converts and 
inquirers. Twenty-five years later this Society's beneficent work was still being carried on.'^^ 

Another body which for many years served to unite Jewish Christians in a spiritual 
fellowship was the Hebrew Christian Prayer Union, founded in 1882 by Dr. H.A. Stern. Its 
objects were the promotion of unity, piety and brotherly feeling amongst Jewish converts, by 
means of mutual prayer and religious intercourse. Prayer was offerred privately by each member 
on Saturday, and there were general meetings for prayer in London at stated seasons. Stern was 
the first President. The membership rose from 143 in 1883, to 600 in 1890; and branches were 
formed in Germany, Norway, Romania, Russia, Palestine and the United States. '^"^ 

But while these movements have interest as expressing the need of Jewish Christians for 
mutual dependence both in prayer and charity, they have no claim to be regarded as forerunners 
of a revived Jewish Christianity. The first united stand of Jewish Christians, as such, was made 
in 1866 when Dr. C. Schwartz, minister of Trinity Chapel, Edgware Road, London, built by 
another Jewish Christian, Ridley Herschell, formed a Hebrew-Christian Union. The objects are 
stated to have been: 

1 To promote a social and frequent personal intercourse 
among Christian Israelites by meeting together at stated periods. 

2 To stir up and stimulate one another in the endeavor of uniting with, and caring 
for, our brethren. 

3 To search the Scriptures together relating to Israel and Israel's King. 

The opening verse of Psalm 133 "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to 
dwell together in unity," was taken as the motto of the 



Dr. Schwartz also commenced to edit in January 1866, the first Jewish Christian 
periodical. The Scattered Nation. 


The great forward step was taken on April 25, 1866, when the following circular letter 
was issued to Jewish Christians. 

Dear Brother, 

It has occurred to us that it would be desirable and profitable that as many Israelites 
who believe in Jesus as can be brought together should meet in London on the 23rd 
of May. 

Our object is to become acquainted with one another, and to be built up in our holy 
faith. There are special ties which bind us together as descendant of Abraham, and 
we believe that this conference for prayer and consultation might issue in a 
permanent union of Jewish Christian brethren in this land. 

We do not come before you with any definite plan for action, but would simply say 
that, as there exists an Evangelical and a Jewish, an Hebrew-Christian Alliance also 
might be formed. 

We trust that you feel with us the desirableness and importance of such a meeting, 
and that we may reckon your presence and on your prayers. 

An early reply, sent to the address of Dr. Schwartz, would greatly oblige. 

With the prayer that the Lord may bless us all. 

Dear brother, yours very sincerely, 

AD. Herschell 
H. Liebstein 
M. Margoiouth 
T.E. Neuman 
A. Pitowsky 
J. Steinhardt 
A. Saphir 
C. Schwartz 

The Rev. A. M. Meyer, Dr. M. Schulhof, and other brethren, have promised to 

Eighty Jewish Christians met on the day appointed, and Dr. Schwartz afterwards wrote: 
"We may boldly say that such a gathering of convened Jews exclusively had not been witnessed 
since the early days of the Christian Church." 


On the motion of Rev. A. M. Meyer, seconded by Dr. Ginsburg, Dr. Schwartz took the 
chair. The Rev. A. M. Meyer introducing the subject of the desirability of a Hebrew-Christian 
Alliance, said: 

Let us not sacrifice our identity. When we profess Christ, we do not cease to be 
Jews; Paul, after his conversion, did not cease to be a Jew: not only Saul was, but 
even Paul remained, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. We cannot and will not forget the 
land of our fathers, and it is our desire to cherish feelings of patriotism.... As 


Hebrews, as Christians, we feel tied together; and as Hebrew Christians, we desire 
to be aUied more closely to one another. 

It was unanimously resolved that a Hebrew-Christian Alliance be formed. The 
proceedings on this occasion were in private; but the following year a crowded public meeting 
was held at Willis' Rooms, King Street, St. James', on May 14, 1867, under the presidency of 
Dr. Schwartz, when, among the resolutions passed was the following: 

That though the members of the Alliance belong to different Churches, they all feel 
united in Christ, and they declare before their Jewish brethren that they have found 
in Jesus, the Messiah, to whom the Law and Prophets bear testimony, that they 
have peace in His blood, and look for His coming in glory as the Hope of Israel. 

It is evident from its history, which has now reached the Psalmist's span of life, that the 
Hebrew-Christian Alliance represented no temporary burst of enthusiasm, but was the outcome 
of a real desire for corporate witness for Christ as Jews, a desire that has only increased with the 
passing of the years. Among the distinguished Presidents have been men like Dr. Rosedald, 
Aaron Bernstein, Ben-Oliel, Isaac Levinson, Samuel Schor and E. Bendor Samuel. In 1915, the 
movement crossed the Atlantic and the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America was founded 
under the presidency of the Rev. S. B. Rohold. 

The Jewish Christian movements which we have been considering were associations 
within the bounds of the established churches. The members owned allegiance to one or other of 
the Christian denominations. It remained for Joseph Rabinowitz in 1882 to found the first Jewish 
Christian communion in modern times which belonged to no definite denomination, but was 
rather in the nature of a synagogue of Jewish believers in Jesus. 


The story of Rabinowitz is a remaikable one. He may without unfair comparison be 
described as the Herzel of Jewish Christianity. 

Rabinowitz was bom at Resina on the Dniester, September 23, 1837, the son of David 
ben Ephraim. Owing to the early death of his mother, he was taken into the family of his 
maternal grandfather, Nathan Neta, where he remained until he was eleven years of age. At the 
age of six, he could repeat the Song of Solomon by heart. 

His youth was spent in Chasidic circles, and he showed great promise of literary ability. 
At thirteen he was betrothed, though he did not marry until six years later. It was his future 
brother-in-law, Jehiel Hershensohn (Lichtenstein) who first introduced him to the New 
Testament by lending him a Hebrew copy, at the same time remarking that perhaps Jesus of 
Nazareth was the true Messiah. Rabinowitz was greatly surprised at this suggestion, but its only 
apparent effect on him was to cause him to leave the Chasidim and earnestly to study the Bible. 
He returned with his grandfather to Orgeyev and took up law as his profession so that he could 
practise as a solicitor among his own people. He took an active interest in communal affairs, and 
was a frequent contributor to the Jewish newspapers: he also gave lectures at Kischineff in which 
he advocated reform and progressive ideas. In 1878 he wrote an article in the Hebrew paper 
Haboker Or, in which he urged on the rabbis to improve the conditions of Russian Jewry by 
sponsoring agricultural training, and he himself set an example by putting his garden under 
cultivation. Shortly afterwards, when a wave of persecution broke out, he went to Palestine on a 


mission of inquiry with a view in establishing a Jewish colony there. The Hebrew New 
Testament given to him many years before went with him as a guide book. When he reached 
Jerusalem and saw the miserable state of the Jewish inhabitants, he was deeply depressed; but 
before he left the Holy City he ascended the Mount of Olives. Sitting there and viewing the 
Mosque of Omar, where formerly the Temple stood, his mind went back over the tragic history 
of his people. What was the meaning of the age-old tale of Israel's suffering? In a flash the 
answer came to him: "The key to the Holy Land is in the hands of our brother Jesus." 

Filled with the glory of a great vision, Rabinowitz returned to Kischineff, and with great 
power and enthusiasm set forth his belief In a short time he had gathered around him numerous 
adherents to his doctrine not only in Kischineff, but in many other towns of Bessarabia. The faith 
of the movement, which called itself "Israelites of the New Covenant," was 


set forth in thirteen articles of faith on the model of those drawn up by Maimonides. 

In 1885 Rabinowitz took the decisive step of being baptized in Berlin; and although this 
restricted his work to some extent, owing to Jewish prejudice against baptism, his labors 
continued unabated. He was invited to join the Lutheran Church and also the Russian Church, 
but he was wholly loyal to his people and would not attend a place of Christian worship where a 
crucifix was displayed. Subsequently he built a hall which became a Jewish Christian 
Synagogue. A Christian minister, Mr. Faber, saw his work and brought back this description: 

Rabinowitz is a preacher of the Gospel in the spirit of the Jewish nationality: a 
preacher gifted, so versed in the Scriptures, so deeply rooted in the Divine Word of 
the New Covenant, as the Jewish nation has not possessed since the days of the 
Apostles. This is his great importance. His sermons published in Hebrew, Russian, 
and the jargon (Yiddish), reach, in ten thousands of copies, the masses of the Jews 
in Eastern Europe. They find eager readers in the most remote districts of Siberia, 
and in the secluded valleys of the Carpathian mountains. The writer of these lines 
has had personal opportunities of seeing the profound influence of Rabinowitz' s 
pamphlets in Galicia and Lithuania. 

Jewish antagonists of the movement spoke of Rabinowiiz as the Babbler, but it was 
noticeable that the general attitude towards the person of Jesus was much improved. A 
Committee in Great Britain was formed to support the work, but there were many Christians who 
looked askance at this combination of Judaism and Christianity as if the hydrogen of the Old 
Covenant and the oxygen of the New Covenant did not naturally combine to produce the Water 
of Life. The old fear still persisted. 

Rabinowiiz died in 1899; but in Bessarabia his name and memory continue to be 
honored, and a steadily increasing Jewish Christian organization now incorporated as the 
Hebrew Christian Alliance of Bessarabia perpetuates his pioneer efforts to bridge the gulf 
between Church and Synagogue and to bring back the Scattered Nation to its proper allegiance. 



Chapter XX 


There could be no doubt that Rabinowitz and his movement had caused a fluttering in 
Christian circles. Here was no imposing of the Christian faith on Jews from without, but an 
adoption, or rather reclamation, of Christianity by Jews from within. The churches could stand 
by, but they could not participate in this domestic matter. It was clear that Jesus must be 
something more to the Jew than he could be to the Gentile, for he was the legal King of Israel. It 
was like watching the growth of a royalist party within an old-established republic. 

The same spirit which led Theodore Herzel to seek the solution of the Jewish problem in 
a revived Jewish State had led Joseph Rabinowitz to seek a solution in a Jewish divinely 
controlled Kingdom, with Jesus as the sovereign. In both cases it was the manifestation of anti- 
semitism that was the influential cause. It must be remembered that the New Testament was a 
sealed book to thousands of Jews, and never having read it they judged the book by the deeds of 
those who claimed to be bound by its teaching. It was in desperation that they turned to it now to 
find the exact authority which lay behind the pogroms and blood-libels. The situation is 
exemplified by the experience of Rabbi I. Lichtenstein, district rabbi of Tapio-Szele in Hungary. 
In a pamphlet called Judenspiegel he wrote: 

I used to think that Christ was the plague and curse of the Jews, the origin and 
promoter of our sorrow and persecution. In this conviction I grew to years of 
manhood, and still cherishing it I became old. I knew no difference between true, 
and merely nominal Christianity; of the fountain head of Christianity itself I knew 
nothing. Strangely enough, it was the horrible Tisza-Eszlar blood accusation which 
first drew me to read the New Testament. This trial brought from their lurking- 
places all the enemies of the Jews, and once again, as in olden times, the cry 
reechoed, "Death to the Jew!" The frenzy was excessive, and among the ringleaders 
were many who used the name of Christ and his doctrine as a cloak to cover their 
abominable doings. These wicked practices of men, wearing the name of Christ 
only to further their evil dangers, aroused the indignation of the true Christians, 
who, with pen on fire and warning voices, denounced the lying rage of the anti- 
semites. In articles written 


by the latter in defence of the Jews, I often met with passages where Christ was 
spoken of as he who brings joy to man, the Prince of Peace, and the Redeemer, and 
his Gospel was extolled as a message of love and life to all people. I was surprised, 
and, scarcely trusting my eyes, I took a New Testament out of its hidden corner; a 
book which some forty years ago I had in vexation taken from a Jewish teacher, 
and I began to turn over its leaves and to read. How can I express the impression 
which I then received? Not the half had been told me of the greatness, power, and 
glory of this book, formerly a sealed book to me. All seemed so new to me, and yet 
it did me good like the sight of an old friend, who has laid side his dusty, travel- 
worn garments, and appears in festal attire. 

In another ^amp\\[Qt Judenthum und Christenthtum he says: 


A sudden glory, a light, flashed through my soul. I looked for thorns, and gathered 
roses: I discovered pearls instead of pebbles; instead of hatred, love; instead of 
vengeance, forgiveness; instead of bondage, freedom; instead of pride, humility; 
instead of enmity, conciliation; instead of death, lire, salvation, resurrection, and 
heavenly treasure. 

Rabbi Lichtenstein began to quote the New Testament from his pulpit to the scandal of 
some of his congregants, who accused him to the chief rabbi of Budapest of heterodoxy. The 
outcome was that Rabbi Lichtenstein admitted his faith in Christ, and had to resign his office. 
His voice could not be stilled, however, and he went on preaching the amazing truth that had 
been revealed to him. He would not be baptized, and remained with the Jewish community until 
his death at the advanced age of eighty-five, on October 16, 1909. 

Lichtenstein and Rabinowitz were no isolated cases: they had their contemporaries and 
their immediate successors; they were, indeed, representative of an entirely new generation of 
Jewish Christians more on the pattern of the original Nazarenes. The position of these New 
Covenant Jews raised an acute problem in the Christian Church. They would not be absorbed, 
they would not be assimilated. They claimed the right as Jews to maintain the name and customs 
of their race. They held that they had not forsaken Judaism, but crowned it with Jesus, the chief 
corner stone. Understanding Christians welcomed and sympathized with the manifestation: it 
answered to their own scriptural convictions that Israel 


would return to its allegiance with resultant revival of true faith among all believers. They looked 
to the Jewish Christians to proclaim a purer Christianity, uninfluenced by the doctrinal 
controversies which had rent the Catholic Church. Others, fearful that an independent reading of 
the New Testament by the Jews, untutored by Gentile traditional interpretations, would 
undermine the structure of their faith, raised a loud cry of Ebionitism. If Jewish Christianity 
would not submit to be poured into their peculiar denominational mould, they were determined 
to wreck it by branding it as a heresy. The liberty which the apostle Paul had won for the 
Gentiles they were unwilling to grant to the Jews. A particularly insistent evangelical group 
raised the standard of what they called "dispensational truth" in an effort to prove that until the 
second advent of Jesus it was impossible for the Jewish people to be converted, and therefore 
that any attempt to found a separate national Jewish Christian communion was outside of the 
Divine Plan, and foredoomed to failure. 

On this 'Ebionite" issue the battle was joined. The old theology apportioned the Biblical 
blessings to the Church and left the curses to the Jews. One cannot help feeling that much of 
Gentile Christian anxiety was now lest the tables should be turned, and that Jacob would 
somehow trick Laban out of his birthright of the Promised Land and leave him only the barren 
Mount Seir. Jewish Christianity would have both the Law and the Promises and Gentile 
Christianity would be relegated to the position of the poor relation accepting the spiritual charity 
of Israel. 

One very vital aspect of the situation the Gentile Christians entirely ignored, and that was 
the injury they were doing to the simple enthusiastic faith of the Jewish Christians by embroiling 
them in their doctrinal controversies. Many a Jewish convert entered the Church in the naive 
belief that all Christians were brethren. They had no prior knowledge of the subtler 
denominational distinctions, and the discovery was a grave shock to their idealism. Even worse. 


they frequently found that they were not wanted in the Church, and were frozen out by ill- 
disguised dislike. The Jewish temperament, so susceptible to atmospheric feeling, wilted with the 
chill of Christian austerity. The convert, who had dared all for Christ's sake, and expected the 
warmth of his new brethren to solace him for what he had lost, was subjected to the torture of a 
loneliness which only the deepest faith could support. With a wry smile the Jewish Christians 
touched the limp hand of charity, shuddering inwardly at the contact. Gladly do we admit that his 
bitter experience was not 


universal. There were Gentile Christians who were friends of Israel in deed as well as in name, 
and who poured themselves out in love to bring comfort to the stranger. These received their 
reward in a very passion of gratitude and responsive affection. 

Among the mistakes of the Church in dealing with Jewish Christians has been a too ready 
action on the principle that all converts should of necessity become missionaries to their own 
people, whether they were qualified for this work or otherwise. The desire for witness is always 
strong among those who have found a great truth, which appears to them to give form and 
meaning to chaotic and inexplicable circumstances: it springs mainly from a high-souled and 
wholly good desire to share the blessings we enjoy with others less fortunate. Missionary service 
often however, works a subtle change in motive and transforms a beneficent instinct into 
something that partakes of spiritual arrogance and in time becomes a quite indefensible mania for 
proselytism. Very few, and only those who live in the closest contact with God, are able to resist 
this process. How utterly true are the words of Paul: "And how shall they preach, except they be 

The situation has been particularly difficult for those Jewish Christians whose former life 
has been spent in enclosed Jewish surroundings. By accepting Christ they have not only been 
cast out of their homes, but out of their places of employment. Some have been scholars and 
knew no trade. In any case, their Jewishness made engagement by a Gentile employer difficult. 
The Mission door opened up a way not only of keeping body and soul together, but of expressing 
devotion to Christ in practical service. It has only been realized later that service to Christ has 
become servitude to a Committee, and to break away meant untold hardship not only to self but 
to wife and children, which family love — so strong in the Jew — dare not contemplate. Some 
Missions have been wiser than to insist on the convert becoming a missionary, when he has had 
no vocation, and they have established trade training-schools and workshops with a view to 
making him self-supporting and independent. Such efforts are all to the good, but the relief is 
still small, having no regard to the growing numbers of Jews who are finding their spiritual peace 
in following their Messiah. It is plain that the real solution to the problem can only come when 
Jewish prejudice has sufficiently abated, and the much vaunted Jewish tolerance is no longer an 
impressive but quite unsubstantial argument in contrasting Christianity with Judaism, but is real 
and and manly enough to give liberty of conscience to Jewish 


Christians and so to banish forever the pain of the broken family circle. One knows that the root 
cause is the Jewish fear of assimilation, which sees in the cutting off of the offending member 
the only means of safeguarding the integrity of the race. When this fear is removed by the 
superlative Jewishness attached to Jewish Christianity, then it is to be anticipated that a better 
state of affairs will result. 


At a series of missionary conferences from the close of the nineteenth century to the 
outbreak of the Great War in 1914 the Ebionite theme recurred again and again and was dealt 
with according to the convictions of the various speakers. 

Mark John Levy, a sturdy advocate of the loyal Jewish Christian position and founder of 
the Christian Jews' Patriotic Alliance, succeeded in bringing the subject before the British 
Hebrew Christian Alliance in the 'nineties; but his resolution was "tabled" undoubtedly because 
of its supposed danger to the servants of the missionary societies. Dr. Rosedale, the president, 
actually confessed to Levy that "The Hebrew Christian missionaries are dependent on the 
Gentile Christians for support and they cannot afford injustice to their families to risk the charge 
of Judaizing." 

Elsewhere others were raising the standard of Jewish Christian independence; in Galatia 
there was Christian Theodore Lucky: in Hamburg Paulus Grun through the columns of his 
magazine Ephratha, organ of the Jewish Christian Association, and again in South Africa Philip 
Cohen, who edited The Messianic Jew for the Jewish messianic Movement. Cohen gives three 
cogent reasons for a change of attitude on the part of Jewish Christians: 

1 Deep love to our own nation, to its history and its traditions. 

2 A deep conviction that we who are Hebrew Christians can best serve the cause of 
Christ by demonstrating to our people that we still belong to them. 

3 The conviction that Jewish Christianity can only impress the Jewish mind by taking 
on a distinctively Jewish coloring. 

Lucky in an impassioned speech at a Jewish Christian Conference in Stanislau in 1903 

I do not demand from my fellow-believers the complete and 


strict observance of all Jewish customs at any price. Here is a brother who says, 
"We live in exile and are not our own masters, and though I would like to keep the 
entire ceremonial law, and all the more because I am a disciple of Jesus, I cannot do 
it. I am a soldier and must eat barrack fare. I must rest on Sunday and work on the 
Sabbath for the sake of by daily bread." Well, he is my brother nevertheless. I do 
not judge his conscience, nor is he to let me be a conscience to him in the matter of 
meals, or of the Sabbath, all of which are only a shadow of that of which we have 
the substance in Christ. On the other hand, another says, "Because I believe in 
Christ therefore I give up the Sabbath." Well, he is no less acceptable to God on 
that account, and I do not despise him for it nor condemn him. But I am sorry for 
him, and it hurts me to the depth of my heart because he too is a child of Israel and 
should help us to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 

Mark Levy, in 1907. addressed an appeal to the General Assembly of the Episcopal 
Church of the United States, in which he pleaded for the restoration of the original Hebrew 
Christian branch of the Church, and for the public proclamation of the Scriptural truth. 


That the Church does not require its Jewish members to forsake their own people, 
but leaves them in their Christ-given liberty to have their children circumcised 
according to God's covenant with Abraham, should they so desire, and to observe 
all the other customs inherited from their fathers, provided it be clearly understood 
that neither Jew nor Gentile can be saved through the works of the Law, but solely 
through the sacrifice and atonement of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

The General Assembly responded with a resolution in that sense, retaining the exact 
words that Levy had used. 

Neither were there wanting Gentile Christians who fully appreciated the need for the 
establishment of a revived Jewish Christian communion. That famous Hebraist, the late Canon 
B. H. Box, said at the London Missionary Conference of 1903: 

I venture to beseech Jewish Christians to take this question into their prayerful 
consideration. I know full well that many of them are affectionately attached to 
Gentile Christian communities, and that it will be fairly difficult to find a common 


basis. But I would ask them at least to set this unity before them as their goal. And 
should a homogeneous Hebrew Christian Church be formed centering round a 
liturgy which is informed with a certain adaptation to the national and historic 
Jewish spirit, may those who cannot give their full and hearty allegiance to such a 
Church at least refrain from putting hindrances in the way of its free development. 

The Rev. Th. Lindhagen at the International Jewish Missionary Conference at Stockholm 
in 1911 rightly stated: 

It cannot be denied that up to now the relation of the Jewish Christians to their 
people has been far from altogether satisfactory. The reproaches which have been 
levelled against them and against the missionaries who work among them are 
unfortunately only too well grounded. It is quite true that there are Jewish 
Christians and missionaries to the Jews who make an altogether vicious use of 
Paul's word to the Galatians, "There is neither Jew nor Greek." The apostle cannot 
have meant these words as advocating the annihilation of their nationality .... It is 
equally true that the Gentile Church has helped to estrange Jewish Christians from 
their own people through calling them "proselj^es." an unscriptural term in direct 
opposition to the pronouncements of Paul in Romans 11, where he speaks of the 
Jews as the natural branches, and the Gentiles as branches of a wild olive which 
had been grafted on to the good tree against all natural tendency. In this respect a 
thorough-going change of policy and practice is necessary. "I am verily a man 
which am a Jew, a Hebrew of the Hebrews" — there is much need for these words 
to be heard and spoken once more without shame among our Jewish Christian 
brethren. That the ideal of an autonomous Jewish Christian Church is closely 
connected with these aspiration regarding the right attitude of Hebrew Christians to 
their people is self-evident. 

So the struggle went on, the pangs which heralded the coming birth of a new Jewish 
Christianity. The fact that the issue was so widely discussed, and that feeling ran so high, was in 


itself sufficient indication that no mere academic question was being dealt with, but that there 
was a definite quickening, a separate Jewish Christian consciousness was taking form. 


Then came the World War, and for a time the tribulation of Jewish Christianity was 
submerged in the tribulation of the nations. Yet the war itself was to be linked with this strange 
history in the mysterious purposes of God. 



Chapter XXI 


There are many earnest Christians who consider that the most important outcome of the 
terrible World War of 1914-1918 was the wresting of the Holy Land from the Turks and the 
British Balfour declaration guaranteeing to the scattered Jewish people a national home in 
Palestine. These events, whatever may be the view of the reader on the subject of prophecy, were 
of the utmost significance to those who believed that the age described in the Scriptures as "The 
Times of the Gentiles" was drawing to a close. Before the great culmination it was necessary for 
the Jews to be gathered back to their own land, where finally they would repentantly accept Jesus 
as their true Messiah and become a missionary nation to the whole world. The war was thus 
regarded as an instrument for the carrying out of the divine plan, another instance of God making 
the wrath of man to praise Him. Such an interpretation of historic happenings is of a piece with 
the whole story of the Jews, in so many respects unique. Nations have made history; but what 
other nation has had its history written for it in advance ? Unbelief may scoff, but it cannot deny 
the mysterious march of the cavalcade of God. 

The Jew suffered in the war as acutely with every belligerent country, but especially in 
eastern Europe where the tide of battle flowed back and forth across their habitations, and they 
were regarded as the legitimate spoil of whichever army was for the time in occupation. Yet the 
war brought them a measure of freedom in places where this had previously been denied to them. 
Revolutions swept away ghettos as well as dynasties. There was a great turning away from the 
old ways and the old traditions. For some Jews liberty led to atheistic Communism, for other it 
led to nominal Christianity. When it became possible to gather reliable statistics, it was found 
that 97,000 Jews had joined the church in Hungary, 17,000 in Austria, 35,000 in Poland, 60,000 
in Russia, over 20,000 in America, and smaller numbers in other countries. Spontaneous 
movements of a deeply spiritual character were to be noted expressing devotion to Jesus, but 
distinct from any missionary endeavor — the "Seekers after God in Russia," the "Christ- 
Believing Jews" in Hungary. 

The situation was watched with the keenest interest by the various Jewish Christian 
bodies. It was clear that some steps ought to be taken with a view to guiding and coordinating the 
greatly increased body of 


Jewish Believers. The initiative was taken by the Hebrew Christian Alliance of America 
(founded in 1915). They suggested as a preliminary measure the convening of an International 
Hebrew Christian Conference. Mark John Levy crossed the Atlantic several times in the interests 
of the proposal. After protracted discussion and correspondence with the British Hebrew 
Christian Alliance (founded in 1866), a joint letter of invitation was sent to Hebrew Christians in 
all parts of the world. In its way, the letter was as significant as that famous epistle to the Gentile 
believers issued by the first Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). It was dated for March, 1925, and 
read as follows: 

Dear brethren in the Lord Jesus our Messiah, 

We, members of the Hebrew Christian Alliances of Great Britain and America send 
you hearty greetings. 


Since the days of the Apostles, Hebrew Christians have been scattered units in the 
diaspora, ostracized by our unbelieving brethren and lost among the nations. We 
believe, however, that the times of the Gentiles are king fulfilled and that the God 
of our fathers, according to His gracious promise, is about to restore Israel to her 
ancient heritage. We also believe that as Hebrew Christians, though a remnant 
weak and small we have a share in the building up of "the Tabernacle of David that 
is fallen down." 

We deem it an opportune time to meet and confer together, seeking Divine 
guidance by prayer and the Word of God. 

We have therefore decided to hold D.V. an INTERNATIONAL HEBREW 
CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE in London. England, this year from Saturday, 
September 5 to Saturday, September 12, and to this we heartily invite you. 

Many living in distant parts, maybe prevented from joining us by the heavy 
travelling expenses, but it is hoped that the Hebrew Christians of various towns or 
countries may be willing to raise the means and send delegates to represent them at 
the Conference; they will then be able to take back a report of the proceedings. 

The Hebrew Christian Alliance of London will, however, during the period of the 
Conference. September 5-12, give themselves the pleasure of providing hospitality 
to all delegates who will have registered beforehand and will have received cards 
and badges. To such delegates full particulars, together with the 


programme, will be sent in due course. 

With cordial greetings. 

On behalf of the Hebrew Christian Alliances of Great Britain and America, 

Yours in our Common Master, 

Samuel Schor, President 

J.J. Lowe, Treasurer 

E. Bendor Samuel, Hon. Secretary 

The Conference duly met at the Wilson Memorial Hall, Islington, the only shadow over 
the proceedings being the absence of The Rev. Samuel Schor, owing to illness. Rarely can there 
have been witnessed such a fervent gathering. Eighteen countries were represented. On the 
rostrum are proudly displayed die Union Jack and the Jewish Flag, while between them hung the 
Jewish Christian motto, "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in 

It was on September 8 that the historic resolution was carried unanimously: 

That we Hebrew Christians from different parts of the world standing for the 
Evangelical Faith now met in Conference, re-affirm our living faith in the Lord 
Jesus Christ, as our Messiah, and our oneness in Him; and do hereby declare that 
we now form ourselves into an INTERNATIONAL HEBREW CHRISTIAN 


At the election of office-bearers Sir Leon Levinson was honored with the first presidency 
of the newly-formed Alliance, and the wisdom of that choice became at once evident in his 
presidential address which showed an immediate grasp of the great task to which he had been 
called and to which he dedicated his service. 

The first duty which the Executive Committee of the I.H.C.A. had to undertake was to 
draw up a Constitution. The aims of the Alliance, as set forth in the completed document, are 
given as follows: 

1 To foster a spirit of fellowship and co-operation among 
Hebrew Christians throughout the world. 

a) By the establishment of local Alliances wherever possible. 

b) By watching over the spiritual development and general welfare of converts, and 
encouraging them to be witnesses for Christ among Israel in every sphere of life, 


and thus to set up again under Divine guidance "the candlestick" of witness within 

2 To present a untied witness on behalf of Christ, not only to the Jewish people, 
but to the world. 

3 To interpret the spirit of the Jewish people to the Christian world, and the spirit 
of the Christian Gospel to the Jews. 

4 To make it possible for Hebrew Christians, who may desire to do so, to share 
in the activities of Zionism, and to claim for them equal rights in terms of the 
Balfour Declaration. 

5 To aid Churches and Societies in their selection of Hebrew Christian 
candidates offering themselves forth Ministry, and supplying them with 
information regarding Converts as occasion may arise. 

6 To identify Hebrew Christians with the Jewish People in the defence of their 
just rights in countries in which these rights are denied them, and, when necessary, 
to protest against the spirit of Anti-Semitism. 

The Constitution provided for the creation of National Alliances which should be 
affiliated to the International body, and under "membership" opened the door for Christians not 
of Jewish birth to become associate members, enjoying full rights except the power of voting. It 
was also made quite clear that the I.H.C.A. would not come under the jurisdiction of any 
Christian denomination. 

From 1925 the history of Jewish Christianity becomes in effect, the history of the 
I.H.C.A. One of the immediate results of its constitution was that many secret Jewish believers in 
Jesus, including a number of rabbis, began to communicate with the Executive. It was the breath 
of life to them to learn of a Jewish Christian fellowship. To such a body they could confide their 
inmost convictions, where they had difficulty in approaching a Mission or a Gentile Church. 


Within two years National Alliances had been formed in twelve different countries and 
had been affiliated with the International. These comprised Great Britain. America (including 
Canada), Germany. Russia, Poland, Latvia. Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland 
and Palestine. In later years the number has risen to eighteen by the addition of Holland, 
Rumania, Yugoslavia, Danzig, Portugal, and Australia. 


At the Budapest and Warsaw Conferences held under the auspices of the International 
Missionary Council in April 1927, attended by the President and other members of the Alliance, 
it was put on record that : 

The Conference has learned with great interest and sympathy of the formation and 
growth of the I.HC.A, and expresses the hope that it may serve in uniting Christian 
Jews throughout the world in an enriching spiritual fellowship and become a 
blessing for the Jewish people, as also of the Christian Church. 

The I.H.C.A. has held its own International Conference every three years since its 
formation, and at these gatherings subjects of the highest importance for the future of Jewish 
Christianity have been dealt with. Among them, it has been proposed to establish industrial and 
agricultural colonies of Jewish Christians in Poland and Palestine, and plans are far advanced 
towards putting these schemes into operation. At the 193 1 Conference a Commission was set up 
to inquire into the desirability and practicability of forming a Hebrew Christian Church. As a 
result of the findings of this Commission reported to the next Conference, a momentous decision 
was taken in the passing of a resolution. "That this Conference approves the principle of the 
establishment of a Hebrew Christian Church." 

One of the most interesting events in the history of the Alliance happened in 1933, when, 
during one of his visits to Palestine the President, Sir Leon Levison, received in Jerusalem a 
deputation representing the Marranos of Portugal, descendants of the many thousands of Jews 
who were compelled to accept the Christian faith in the days of the Inquisition. Work was 
initiated among the Marranos, and before long they formed themselves into a Portuguese Hebrew 
Christian Alliance. 

When the terrible massacres of Jews by Arabs in Palestine took place in 1929, the 
Alliance raised over £1,500 as a Relief Fund to succor Jewish families, and on many occasions a 
protest has been made against anti-semitic propaganda. 

The accession to power of the Nazi party in Germany initiated a bitter period of Jewish 
persecution which still continues. The deliberate ousting of all Germans with Jewish blood in 
their veins from their employment produced untold hardship and suffering. Hundreds of 
thousands, who were wholly divorced from the Synagogue, and did not even know that they 
were of Jewish extraction, were ruthlessly penalized, and their plight created an acute problem 
far the Alliance. Organizations were quickly 


set up to ameliorate the lot of the Jewish sufferers, but the Jewish Christians and non- Aryan 
Christians were largely denied relief from these sources, and their pitiful appeals came before the 
I.H.C.A. Almost every other consideration had to be abandoned in an effort to raise funds for 
German relief and to endeavor to place as many as possible in employment in other countries. 
But all that could be done was like a drop in the ocean, and it has become clear that more definite 


action must yet be taken if the situation, unparalleled since the Middle Ages, is not to develop for 
the worse. 

The common distress at least has had the effect of partially bridging the gulf between the 
non-Christian and the Christian Jew. In Jewish circles it used to be asked facetiously, "Where 
and what are the Jewish Christians?" Today, the I.H.C.A. is the sufficient answer. A measure of 
actual co-operation has been achieved which augurs well for the future, and even in the Church 
the Alliance has brought recognition that the Jewish Christian has a special position to occupy in 
the economy of the Kingdom of God. Basil Mathews has stated: 

From the Christian side, we do not believe it to be in the purpose of God that the 
Jewish Christian should be deprived of full opportunity of making his awn 
distinctive racial and cultural contribution within the Christian Church. We should 
not seek in any way to detach him from his own heritage, and should gladly receive 
from that heritage all that will enrich our own faith. '^^ 

The change in the condition of Jewish Christianity which has taken place within the last 
century, and particularly within the last decade, is little short of miraculous. One by one the 
positions lost in the age-old triumph of the Gentile Church have been regained. A revived Jewish 
Christian independent religious communion is within measurable distance of achievement. The 
wheel has turned full circle. 

To what purpose is all this? It is that Jewish Christianity with its accumulated experiences 
of human passions and Divine love has a potent message to give to a world crying aloud for light 
and truth? Is it that these patient followers of the King Messiah have a leading part to play in the 
restoration of peace and international brotherhood to a world sown with dissension and distrust? 
Is there after all something in the Mosaic vision of "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation," 
playing a mediatorial part between the nations and their God? Those who seek an answer to these 


questions must go to the Fountain-head and to the word of His revelation. 

Beat by beat Jewish Christianity has followed the music of the great prophetic strains in 
Handel's Messiah, steadfast in the hope that one day the Hallelujah Chorus will ring out, and 
mighty voices as of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, shall cry: 

The kingdoms of this world are became the kingdoms of our Lord and of His 
Messiah; and He shall reign for ever and ever.'"^ 

Addendum to Chapter XXI 

Extracts from Sir Leon Levison's Address on being elected First President of the 
International Hebrew Christian Alliance, September 9, 1925: 

My dear brethren and sisters, I am deeply moved by the great honor you have seen fit to 
confer on me. I can hardly find words adequately to express my gratitude to you. I know my 
shortcomings; I know how onerous and how great is the position to which you have elected me; 
and I pray God, Who alone sees my heart, that He will direct me and you in the great work that 
lies before us. Brethren, you have perhaps little idea at present of what a body such as we have 
constituted can and will do: but, please God, if we each and all of us go back to our own places 


as ambassadors of this great Conference, determined to organize, coordinate, and unite the 
various behevers in Christ from amongst the Jews into bodies, which shall be affiliated to this 
International, so that they may thereby be cheered and comforted and strengthened, you will find 
that in a few short years you will yourselves be rewarded by God in seeing the beauty of unity 
and the grandeur of love when it permeates, and is allowed to work freely in the hearts of the 
followers of Christ, who is the very essence of love itself 

To my colleagues I would say, first of all, that so far as I am concerned, I can promise you 
that you shall never be let down. I will always be at your beck and call, doing my utmost in 
anything that you might have to suggest, in so far as it is going to advance the Kingdom of God 
amongst the Jews, or in any assistance that I might be able to render by way of coming and 
bringing cheer and comfort and help: and I do trust that, if you want this International to be a 
success, you will give me and the International Hebrew Christian Alliance your utmost loyalty. If 
the officer-bearers stand by each other, and are permeated with a great desire and zeal 


for Christ and his Kingdom, we shall be able to bring life and comfort and joy into the hearts of 
the scattered members of our race who are believers in Christ, throughout the world. 

What are we to work for? What are we to be loyal to? I think that the body which has now 
come into being has a great variety of interests, in which, if we try to contribute all that is best 
and highest in us, we shall find that we may become a power in the world as well as amongst our 
own Hebrew Christian brethren. To be a power in the world, we must try to have a clear outlook, 
a Christlike outlook. We must try and avoid those narrow, bigoted, prejudiced feelings and ideas 
which would curb us and distract us and hinder us from going onward and upward and on to 
victory. Therefore we must pray — and when I say pray, I mean we must work and pray ~ if we 
are to make it really effective, that we may see each thing in its own proportion, as God would 
have it. . . . 

Our relationship to each other must be maintained in unity, because, as I said yesterday, we 
are a twice-despised and twice-exiled people — exiled along with the Jewish race, and exiled 
from the Jewish race because of our belief; despised like the Jewish race, but despised by the 
Jewish race because of our belief Therefore, the great need that we all have is just a warm- 
hearted, deep love for one another that shall stand us in stead of everything and make up far all 
things, because Christ has promised to bless such in the cause with his own love. . . . 

Then our relationship with the Jews, and for the Jews, with the Church — I feel, brethren, 
that antisemitism would have been three thousand percent more severe than it is today, had it not 
been for the fact that something like three hundred to six hundred missionaries, Hebrew 
Christian missionaries or missionaries working among the Jews, are going about in America, in 
Great Britain, in Germany, everywhere, week in and week out, preaching and pleading before 
Christian people the cause of Israel, and that propaganda must make the Jews realize what it 
means.... We are going into churches, drawing-rooms, chapels, prayer meetings, prayer unions, 
and conferences and places of all kinds and descriptions where Christian people meet, and we are 
the ones who make people realize that a Jew is a human being like themselves, that he has a soul 
and affections ... a man who has got a home and a home life, and one from whom they can learn 
a good deal if they try to study him.... We can do much by sending representatives from our 
International Hebrew Christian Alliance to the Church; we can more effectively call the attention 
of the Christian world 



than the Jews can, and we are going to do it, and to show the Christian world that we believe in 
Jesus Christ, and are happy to love and to serve him — and just as happy to die for him. 

Yet that does not mean betraying our race. It does not mean forsaking our Jewish brethren; it 
means, on the contrary, that we are prepared to do more for their welfare spiritually than all the 
Rabbis put together. You may feel that this is rather an exaggerated remark, but I make it 
advisedly, my brethren, because, in my own experience, I know of Hebrew Christian 
missionaries and Hebrew Christians here, there, and everywhere, who have gone round for years 
and years on a starvation wage, some of them having no pay and seeking no pay, while others 
have had just enough to maintain themselves, yet who have received such treatment that no 
Rabbi would every remain a Rabbi far three days if he had to put with it. Our missionaries, in the 
name of Christ and in the strength of his love, have continued in spite of it all to this day .... We 
have got a great love because we have got a great Christ, a great a great Savior, a great Example 
on the Cross; and therefore we must, and we can, as we have the means now, put it to our people 
that by accepting Christ, it is a question of "God and myself," not a question of My race, and my 

I think that we cannot blame the Jews altogether. They do not understand us. What we must 
aim at now is to let them realize that we belong to no band or captain save Jesus Christ, who was 
a Jew, who came to the House of Israel, whom we have discovered, and who we love and serve, 
and that we are of their own flesh and blood, as we come to them. If we put it to them aright, we 
shall get to them in two ways. When we come to Zionism, we shall show we have a unity of 
sentiment that is not confined to London alone, but extends throughout the world, and, being a 
community instead of an individual, we shall be treated as community. They are not asking the 
Christians of Palestine that, as a condition of being in Palestine, they shall first become Jews. 
They say they must first adhere to the principles of the League of Nations, that in Palestine there 
is to be freedom of conscience. Well, that is all we ask ~ freedom of conscience. We want to 
help them to build up Palestine, and they should give us the opportunity. . . . 

You and I have been spared by Almighty God in a most wonderful way. Everything that 
reason tells us should have preserved us was not there to aid us; we should have been annihilated 
long ago, and our names should have been but a memory. You and! have been preserved and our 


race has been preserved under God for a great cause, and I believe we shall see that great cause 
for which we are preserved, coming more largely into our vision, and we shall serve that cause in 
God's own time and way, but only if we are strong and remember that God who works, means to 
work through us. If we remember that, I am confident we shall succeed. 




The Messiah Jesus, pp. 



Acts 21:20-24 


Strom. 6:5: Euseb. HE. 



Acts 28:18 


r/ze Jewish Background of the 


Wars II, 13:5 

Christian Liturgy. 


Acts 23:26-30 


Acts 9:1-2 


Antiq. 20, 11:1 


Recog. 1:70-71 


Isaiah 10:33-34; Zech. 11:1 


Euseb, H.E. 2:9 


Matt. 24 


Mysticism of St. Paul p 

). 156 


Gittin 57a 


Recog. 4:35 


Luke 21:20-24 


Ep. Clem, ad Jac. 


Rev. 22:6 


Acts 14:27 


Rev. 1:9; 2:19 


Acts 15:13-21 


1 Pet. 4:17 


Recog. 1:42; Rom. 9:17-22 


Wars 3, 9:3 


Gal. 2:8 


Matt. 24:29-30 


Acts 15:23-29 


Isa. 10:34; 11:1 


Acts 11:27-29 


2 Pet. 3:9 


Antiq. 20, 2:5 


Lost and Hostile Gospels, p. 3 5 


The Messiah Jesus, po. 

540 ff Cf 


Adv. Haer. 1:26 

Epiphanius. Haer 29:4; 78, based on 
traditions preserved in the 
Hypotyposeis of Clement and the 


Chs. 21-23 

Test. De Praescr. 33 

Hypomnemata of Hegesippus. 


Justin. 1st ApoL 53 


Antiq 20, 9:2 


Euseb. H.E. 3:32 


Pesach 57a 








James 5:1-9 


Ibib 3:32 


Antiq. 20, 8:5-6 


Ibib. 4:5 


Iren. Haer 5:33 


John 5:43 


Bar. 29:5 


Justin \st Apology, 31 


Antiq. 20.9:1 


Jerome Ep. ad Aug. 


In Euseb. H.E. 2:23 


Justin Dialoguec. Tryph. 96 


Rom. 3:20 


I Cor. 4:11-13 


Gal. 5:1-2 


Acts of Barnabas 


Rom. 3:8 


Rev. 21:14 


Lost and Hostile Gospels, p. 29 


John 17:3 


2 Peter 2 


Euseb. H.E. 5:9 


Iren. Haer. 1:26 


Acts 17:11 


69 John 20:31 

70 Rom. 3:30 

71 S.P.C.K. ed. pp. 18-19 

72 Op. cit, 31-32 

73 Dial. 72-73 

74 ^/zaM,. 13 a; 116b 

75 //.£. 3:25,27 

76 Cf. Mtt. 5:17: and see the addendum 
to this chapter. 

77 T. Hull. 2:24 

78 Shabb. n6di 

79 Dial c. Tryph. 17 

80 Apol 16 

81 Apol. 26 

82 Abod. Zar. 27b 

83 ^/zaZ)Z>. 14b 

84 Sanh. 10:1 

85 Mark 16:17-18 

86 Panar. 30 

87 F.B.L. vol 41, pp. 122-124 

88 Tann. 27b 

89 Tos. Bab. Mez. 2:33 

90 ^Mcc. 48b 

91 S ee Jame s . Apocryphal New 

92 Jer.Dial.c.Pelag. 3:2 

93 Jer. Cornm. in, ha. 11:2 

94 C. Pellag. Supra 

95 Ps. Orig. in Matt. 

96 Jez. De Vir. Illust. 2 

97 Ibib., 16 

98 Cited in his Panarion 

99 Epiph. Panar. 30:36 

100 Sifra 140a 

101 Ber. B. 48:6 

102 Jerome, Comm. in lac. 

103 Ibib. 

104 Sec Epiph. Pawar/'oM. 

105 Cf. Matt. 1:1 

106 Panar. 39:7 

107 Ibib 30:18 

108 Euseb. H.E. 4:22 

109 Ibib 


110 H.E. 10:1 

111 Canon 64 

112 Ibib. 70 

113 Ibib. 71 

114 Ibib. 49 

115 Ibib. 50 

116 Socrat. F.£. 7:38 

117 Quoted from Parkes The Conflict of 
the Church and the Synagogue, pp. 

118 Asaemani, Cod. Lit., I, p. 105 

119 Cotton. K Mace. 32 

120 Panar. 53 

121 1 Tim. 6:20-21 

122 Clem. Hom 15 

123 Eph.. 5:23, 25, 21,31-32 

124 1 Tim.4:3 

125 B aring Goul d. Lost and Hostile 
Gospels, p.231. 

126 Epiph. Panar. 30:22 

127 B. Sanh. 43a 

128 Panar. 30 

129 J^arkes, Conflict of Church and 
Synagogue, p. 260 

130 Parkes, Conflicts of Church and 
Synagogue, p. 265 

131 Milman, Hist, of the Jews, Vol. II. 

132 Chronicle of the Goths. 

133 Canon 57 

134 Canon 59 

135 Canon 60 

136 Canon 62 

137 Canon 63 


138 Canon 64 

139 Holy Cross Day 

140 Canon 3 

141 See The Conflict between the Church 
and the Synagogue, pp. 283-291 

142 Milman, Hist of the Jews, Vol. 2 p. 


143 Trans. Bialloblotzky, Vol. 1, pp 117- 

144 Milhemet Hobah, p. 13a art. 

145 Finn. Sephardim, pp. 356-363 

146 Hie jaeet in tumulo, vir per cuncta 

Sedis apostoliese tempore quo viguit, 

Romae natus, opum, dives, probis et 
satis alto, 

Sanguine matemo nobilitatus erat. 

Prudens et sapiens, et coelo pene sub 

Agnitus et Celebris, semper in urbe 

Virgo ter senis fuerst cum sole diebus 

Quando suum vitae fmierat spaatium. 

147 J.E. art. Pierleoni. 

148 Responsa 183-192 

149 Israel and the Gentiles, p. 325 

150 In his translation of Bar-Hebreus' 
Commentary on the Gospels, pp. 33- 

151 For the original Latin see 
Margoliouth, The Jews in Great 
Britain, pp. 224-225 

1 52 For further details of the Home and its 
inmates, see .J.E. aare. Domus 
Conbersorum, by R. Michael Adler. 

153 Trans. F.C. Conybeare. 

154 ^u^^qW, Religious Thought and 
Heresy in the Middle Ages, p. 713 

155 Finn. Sephardim, pp. 380-381 

156 Milman, Hist, of the Jews, Vol. II, p. 

157 Milman. loc. cit. p. 389 

158 Frankl, The Expulsion from Spain, 
1492, trans. M.D. Louis 

159 Israel and the Gentiles, pp. 367-8 

160 Mocatta, The Inquisition and Judaism 

161 Abbott, Israel in Europe, p. 227 

162 Berstein, Jewish Witnesses for Christ 

163 The Conspiracy of Lopez the Jew, 
Jewish Chron. Suppl. Sept., 1929 

164 Eng. trans, by John Camden Hotten, 
p. 29 

165 Ibib., p. 47 

166 Israel and the Genties, pp . 513-4 

167 The Jew and Christianity, p. 58 

168 Danby, op. cit pp. 59-60 

169 Toland, Nazarenus, pp. iv-vii 

170 De le Roi, Jewish Baptisms in the 
Nineteenth Century. 

Ill See further Bernstein, Some Jewish 
Witnesses for Christ, and J.El art. 
Converts to Christianity, Modern. Not 
all these were converts of the 

172 Gidney, Biographies of Eminent 
Hebrew Christians, No. IV 

173 History of the L.J.S., pp. 43, 160, etc. 

174 Ibib. p. 424 

175 The Jews and the World Ferment, p. 

176 Rev. 11:15 

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